How often does your family ask you: “What’s for dinner?” While following the South Beach Diet, you can continue to serve many traditional family favorites by simply giving them a healthy makeover. Instead of being a short-order cook in the kitchen, follow these guidelines to help you prepare nutritious, delicious dinners everyone will enjoy.
Family Favorite: Macaroni and Cheese
South Beach Diet–style: Almost everyone appreciates a comforting bowl of macaroni and cheese. To make a healthy Phase 2 version, use whole-wheat macaroni instead of the traditional white-flour macaroni. Avoid packaged cheese sauces and instead create your own using reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, reduced-fat milk, whole-wheat flour, and a trans-fat-free vegetable-oil spread. To add color and fiber to the dish, include chopped veggies, such as broccoli or asparagus and red bell peppers.
Family Favorite: Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes
South Beach Diet–style: With a few substitutions, this homey favorite can be turned into a healthier dish. Choose lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken breast and add fresh and/or dried herbs like parsley, chives, and basil. You can also add shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese and minced garlic for heightened flavor and a little ground flaxseed for fiber. On Phase 1, serve the meatloaf with a selection of sautéed veggies, like onions, bell peppers, and zucchini, along with a cauliflower mash instead of white mashed potatoes. On Phase 2, you can add whole-wheat bread crumbs to the meat mixture before baking, and serve the meatloaf with mashed sweet potatoes.
Family Favorite: Burger and Fries
South Beach Diet–style: Give this favorite combo a healthy makeover by using lean ground sirloin, turkey, or chicken breast for the burger, or even tuna or salmon if your family is more adventurous. Stuff or top the burger with reduced-fat cheese. Skip the bun if you’re on Phase 1 and serve the burger on a Bibb lettuce leaf along with celery or jícama sticks instead of fries. On Phase 2, enjoy the burger on half a whole-wheat bun, whole-wheat pita, or whole-wheat English muffin. For a classic Phase 2 accompaniment, bake some sweet-potato fries in the oven with a sprinkling of paprika or cayenne for a spicy kick.
Family Favorite: Cheese Pizza
South Beach Diet–style: Hands down, pizza is an all-around family favorite. Instead of heading to your local pizzeria, though, prepare pizza at home using healthier ingredients. When on Phase 2, choose a premade whole-wheat-flour crust, a whole-wheat tortilla, or a whole-wheat pita instead of a traditional white-flour crust. Top with no-sugar-added tomato sauce, shredded reduced-fat cheese, freshly chopped veggies like red bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms, and reduced-fat turkey sausage or turkey pepperoni, if desired. If you’re on Phase 1, use a portobello mushroom cap as your “crust” with smaller amounts of these toppings.