By Gillian Nicol
BIRMINGHAM — Labor Day weekend is a great time to spend outdoors with friends and family, firing up the barbecue and enjoying the weather. Instead of chowing down on fatty foods, consider making healthier choices over the holiday with these fresh ideas.
Snack time. Don’t ruin your appetite with trans-fat-filled french onion dip and potato chips. As an alternative, whip up a healthier option such as roasted eggplant and feta dip paired with whole wheat pita chips.
Toss it up. Consider loading your picnic table up with vinaigrette-based salads as they are a healthier option over a mayonnaise dressing. Combine your favorite in-season fruits for a delicious alternative salad.
BBQ challenge. Instead of grilling up steaks and burgers, think about leaner options like chicken, fish, or turkey burgers. Kebabs are also an option that are easy to eat outdoors. Your kids might even enjoy a taste of veggie burgers or tofu dogs.
Vegging out. While you’re throwing the meat on the grill, save room for roasted veggies. Asparagus, peppers, corn and zucchini are all great sides that can be cooked along with the main course. During preparation, think about your heart and go easy on the salt.
A little bubbly. You can avoid the calories of alcohol that are often consumed at outdoor gatherings by offering seltzer water with a spritz of fruit juice for a fresh drink experience. Hundred-calorie cans of diet sodas will also do the trick. Freeze tiny flowers in ice cube trays for an extra splash of color.
Frozen delight. Help cool your guests off by the end of the evening with homemade fruit juice popsicles, sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike. Popsicle molds are easy to come by and are reasonably priced. Add sliced fruit to your concoction for a fun and festive look.