Low-Carb Summer Holidays

Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day Low-Carb Dishes

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Between the potato salad, the hamburger buns, and the strawberry shortcake, you might think summer holidays like July 4th need to be a carb fest, but there are lots of great traditional choices that are low in carbs, and others that can easily be made so. Here are some ideas to have a wonderful celebration without sending your blood sugar through the roof.

Grilled Meats

Unless they are covered with sugary sauces (including regular ketchup), meats are usually carb-free.

Regular barbecue sauce usually has quite a lot of sugar. Using a sugar-free BBQ sauce not only cuts the carbs, but the low sugar content makes the sauce less likely to burn on the grill. It may be hard to find one in the grocery store, but you can make your own sugar-free barbecue sauce. Follow these tips for your summer grilling and barbecue:

  • Hamburgers: Most of the usual fixings are acceptable, but look for low-carb versions of ketchup and sweet pickle relish. The bun is where most of the carbohydrates lurk, so you can try different tactics. You can eat the patty with your preferred fixings with a knife and fork. Or, you can use a low-carb tortilla or large lettuce leaves in place of the bun.
  • Hot dogs: Check the labels for hot dogs with low carb counts, which can be increased by fillers and even sweeteners. A low-carb tortilla is easy to use to replace the bun.
  • Steaks: You can save money by buying and grilling flank steak or skirt steak instead of the more expensive cuts. By salting or marinating them before cooking, and warming them before grilling, you'll add great flavor. It's an ethical choice, but you'll need to learn some new tricks to get the best cooking results for grass-fed beef. To follow the South Beach Diet or eat less saturated fat, select cuts of beef and other meats low in saturated fat.

    Low-Carb Meat Recipes for the Grill:

    Appetizers and Dips

    Vegetables are perfect for dips, of course. Cucumber and jicama slices are great for spreads. Here are some ideas for dips and other appetizers for your low-carb table:

    • Deviled Eggs: They are a crowd-pleasing option, inexpensive, and easy to make gluten-free as well. Your main concern for carbs is in using a sugar-free pickle relish, if that is one of your usual ingredients.
    • Super-Easy Guacamole: It only takes five minutes and a few ingredients. Now you just need to select the right low-carb dippers and use vegetables rather than tortilla chips.
    • Bean Dip:: Use black soy beans in this version of the popular dip and enjoy dipping with veggies.

    Barbecue Side Dishes

    Some traditional summer side dishes made low-carb:

    • Cauliflower "Potato" Salad: Reduce the carbs and boost the nutrition by substituting cauliflower florets for diced potatoes in a faux potato salad. You can avoid sweeteners in mayonnaise by using plain Greek yogurt instead.
    • Barbecue Beans: Use black soybeans and sugar-free barbcue sauce to make a great side dish to pair with grilled meat.
    • Low-Carb Cole Slaw: Most cole slaw has quite a bit of sugar. You can switch to a vinegar-based dressing instead. But if you crave a creamy cole slaw, making it with Greek yogurt and reduced-fat mayonnaise is another option.

    Desserts

    Yes, you can have a low-carb summer dessert:

    • Low-Carb Strawberry Shortcake: Start with naturally ripe, fresh strawberries and use a low-carb flax seed muffin instead of the shortcake. It's also gluten-free.

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