Smart Summertime Side Dishes and Drinks | chelseanow.com

Smart Summertime Side Dishes and Drinks

Coleslaw doesn't have to have a ton of mayo to be delicious. For fewer calories, swap it for a teensy bit of sesame oil. Photo by Carlye Husserl.

Coleslaw doesn’t have to have a ton of mayo to be delicious. For fewer calories, swap it for a teensy bit of sesame oil. Photo by Carlye Husserl.

BY CARLYE HUSSERL, RDN, CDN | You know it’s the heart of summer when your weekend schedule includes at least one picnic, patio party, or fiery pit filled with hot coals. This time of year is a reason to drink, eat, and then eat and drink again. If the weather is nice, we will BBQ long after the sun goes down. If the weather isn’t nice, we will still find a way to make it an eating and drinking event.

So does this mean your healthy habits go out the window? Let’s be honest. you will find yourself involved in more social events as the summer moves on. The question, then, becomes what should you make, buy, and, of course, drink?

RESPONSIBLE RECIPES:

Coleslaw doesn’t have to have mayo to be delicious. One cup of coleslaw with mayo is around 250 calories! If you add a little sesame oil, lots of toasted nuts, and white wine vinegar, you reduce calories tremendously — and can load your plate up with this, so there isn’t any room left for potato salad!

SLAW SALAD (serves 8)

Ingredients:

1/2c sliced almonds

1 head of green cabbage

1 head of red cabbage

1 tbsp sesame oil

1/4c white wine vinegar (or vinegar to taste)

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp black sesame seeds

Directions: Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread nuts in a single layer. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until just about to brown. Remove and set aside. Meanwhile, remove the outer few leaves of cabbage and wash well. Cut the bottom knob off, slice in half and then thinly slice cabbage into a very large bowl. Two heads of cabbage provide a lot of cabbage.

Once you fit everything into a large bowl, save what is left over in Ziploc bags. Add oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and toss with tongs. Then leave it for about 20 minutes; when you come back the cabbage will have wilted down. Add more cabbage and the nuts, and toss well. Taste and see if it needs more vinegar. Refrigerate overnight.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving = 55kcal, 0g fat, 0g protein, 4g carbs.

A creamy, cheesy, low-fat cornbread recipe pairs very well with some grilled chicken and a salad. For an extra kick, add some jalapeño at the end before baking. Photo by Carlye Husserl.

A creamy, cheesy, low-fat cornbread recipe pairs very well with some grilled chicken and a salad. For an extra kick, add some jalapeño at the end before baking. Photo by Carlye Husserl.

CREAMY CORN BREAD (serves 16)

Ingredients:

1 2/3c all-purpose flour (enriched)

1 2/3c whole grain cornmeal

2/3c sugar

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 eggs

1 2/3c skim milk

1/4c vegetable oil (not olive oil)

1 1/2c 2% cheddar cheese

Directions: Combine the ingredients (up to salt) and mix well. In a separate bowl add eggs, milk, oil and cheese and blend well. Add wet ingredients to dry slowly while mixing with an electric mixer. Do this for a full minute or two; it will blend well, but will be a bit lumpy. Don’t overmix!

Coat a shallow pan with baking spray, bake 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Let it rest before you slice.

Nutrition Facts: 171kcal, 25g CHO, 6g protein. One typical piece of cornbread is about 250kcal, 37g CHO and tons of sodium.

WHAT SHOULD YOU BRING?

I’m not a big believer in snacks. The calories add up, and you never feel full. But when you are going to a party, or having a party, you need to put things out for people to munch on.

Hot dogs range in calories and sodium. A hotdog can contain almost 1,000mg of sodium, or less than 500. It can be over 150 calories or under 40! The trick with these is to get the lowest of both. Since you’re adding ketchup, mustard and relish to flavor the dog, you really can’t beat just picking the healthier option from the store.

Applegate Turkey and Chicken Dogs: 60-70kcal, 420mg Na, 7-8g protein.

Hebrew National 97% Fat-Free Beef Franks: 40kcal, 520mg Na, 6g protein.

Blue Diamond Almond Nut thins with Seas Salt: gluten-free chips that are light and airy, and great to dip in some hummus or guacamole. 17 crackers are 130kcal, 80mg Na, 24g CHO, 1g fiber, 3g protein. You can purchase these from Fresh Direct.

Skinny Pop: These delicious and crunchy popcorn bites are only 155kcal in 8 handfuls! Besides the low calorie count, the sodium content is very low at 50mg per serving, so you won’t feel like a bloated, puffy mess the next day. 4 cups 155kcal, 50mg Na, 15g CHO, 3g fiber, 0g protein. These can also be purchased from Fresh Direct.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DRINK?

A homemade frozen coconut margarita made with real coconut milk is much better than a sugar-laden purée you often find at bars. Photo by Carlye Husserl.

A homemade frozen coconut margarita made with real coconut milk is much better than a sugar-laden purée you often find at bars. Photo by Carlye Husserl.

Frozen drinks are great! They really break you away from those boring vodka sodas or gin and tonics that you sipped on this winter inside a dingy bar (where it didn’t matter what you had as long as you had a buzz on and a good pool game going). But a frozen beverage, though delicious and understandably enjoyed outside in nice weather, has more calories than a meal (or two!).

One very small frozen margarita can contain over 300 calories. The frozen margaritas that you enjoy in this city are not small; so maybe double that drink size and, of course, those calories, and what are you left with? A 600-calorie guts the next day — and perhaps some guilt. Try my frozen drink recipes — not only are they nutritionally beneficial (meaning they can at least keep you full and not craving nachos), they’re very low in calories!

FROZEN COCONUT MARGARITA:

(Add ingredients in this order)

1/2c light coconut milk

1/4c fresh lime juice

1 Splenda, 2 stevia or 2 tsp simple syrup

1 shot of tequila (1.5oz)

1 frozen banana

4–5 ice cubes

Some coconut flakes for dusting

Nutrition Facts: 200kcal, 15g CHO, 0g protein, 8g of good healthy fat.

VANILLA PEACH FROZEN MOJITO::

1/2c Silk Light Vanilla Protein milk

Small handful of mint leaves

1 Splenda, 2 stevia or 2 tsp simple syrup

1/4c lime juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 very ripe peach, or 1c of frozen peaches

4–5 ice cubes

Nutrition Facts: 130kcal, 22g CHO, 6g protein.

Carlye Husserl, RDN, CDN is Director of Food and Nutrition Services, New York Foundling.