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; you can create your own using reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, 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 or ground turkey or chicken breast and add fresh and/or dried herbs like parsley, chives, and basil to it. 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 or poultry mixture and serve 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, or ground turkey or chicken breast, to create the burger. 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. As a classic Phase 2 side dish, bake some sweet-potato fries in the oven with a sprinkling of paprika or cayenne to boost flavor.
Family Favorite: Cheese Pizza
South Beach Diet–style: Hands down, pizza is the 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 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, if desired. If you’re on Phase 1, use a portobello mushroom cap as your “crust.”