Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tip for the Week: Happy Party Food Guilt Independence!


Happy Independence Day!  Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays.  When I was younger, it symbolized the start of summer and still reminds me of fireflies and neon glow necklaces.  I really enjoyed seeing fireworks at Foley Field-ooo'ing and ahh'ing at the bright flower-like lights and heavily anticipating the aftermath of the "sonic booms."  Today, it still represents the quintessential summer night but the fireworks don't mean too much to me anymore.  It is really a time to get together with family and friends to enjoy each others' company and oh yeah, good food, especially BBQ.  I love food but since I have changed some of my eating behavior, I will sometimes leave a party feeling guilty about what I have eaten.  This is really the worst feeling because it is totally avoidable!
If you anticipate feeling bad about what you eat at a party today or at any time during any season, practice this party-food-guilt independence tip!   My advice is to bring your own dish to contribute to the party.  This enables you to have more control over what you put into your mouth.  This doesn't mean you can't enjoy the other food that you normally would eat at a BBQ but you can feel good that some space in your belly that would have otherwise been filled with chips and dip is instead filled with your healthy choice.  Some suggestions for what you can bring:
  • Appetizer/side: peppers to roast (these can be added into salads or upgrade your hamburger), quinoa salad (what a great opportunity to teach people about quinoa!), pre-soaked corn to roast, rice and beans
  • Main dish: ground turkey to make turkey burgers, salad loaded with lots of vegetables, whole portabella mushrooms to make burgers instead of a meat based burger-better yet, ditch the bun!
  • Dessert: fruit salad or just a whole watermelon (who doesn't like watermelon?), even better-a watermelon bowl fruit salad
  • Drinks: fresh lemonade (not great but better than the soft drinks with high fructose corn syrup), soda/sparkling water
Besides leaving a party guilt free, you will also look like a great guest.  Most hosts will be grateful for more food to serve.  I know that I am always thankful when my guests bring something.
So here you go. The ultimate party food guilt independence tip for your Independence Day celebration!

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