A Slimmed-Down 4th of July Picnic : Enjoy Traditional Favorites and Cut Down on Calories

Savvy Americans are eating lighter. They know they can still enjoy their traditional favorites and cut down on calories and fat, and holidays are no exception.

Offered here is a slimmed down July 4th picnic. It features a tasty version of coleslaw made with a dressing of grapefruit juice, oil, mustard and caraway seeds. A cup of regular slaw with a mayonnaise dressing has about 175 calories; our version boasts a slim 100.

A quarter of a three-pound fried chicken carries a 968-calorie tag. Remove the skin, marinate in grapefruit juice and bake to cut the calorie count to about 265. Our strategy with fresh hot corn on the cob is to use less butter and boost the corn’s natural good taste with generous amounts of herbs, trimming the calorie count from 195 to 121.

Instead of mayonnaise-based potato salad (1 cup carrying about 275 calories), prepare a dressing based on grapefruit juice and low-fat yogurt seasoned with mustard, pepper and basil leaves for about 105 calories per 1 cup serving.


Finish the meal with a red, white and blue fruit compote of strawberries, bananas and blueberries.


1 small head cabbage, trimmed and finely shredded

2 carrots, peeled and grated


1 small onion, finely chopped

1 sweet red pepper, finely chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped

2 tablespoons grapefruit juice


1/3 cup oil

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 clove garlic, chopped


Combine cabbage, carrots, onion, red and green peppers in large bowl. Toss well. In jar with tight-fitting lid, combine grapefruit juice, oil, mustard, caraway seeds and garlic. Cover and shake until well blended. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss gently. Makes 8 servings.


1 (3-pound) chicken, cut up

1 cup grapefruit juice


2 teaspoons tarragon leaves, crumbled

2 teaspoons chopped parsley

2 teaspoons rosemary leaves, crumbled

1 cup salt-free dry bread crumbs


Remove skin from chicken pieces. Wash and pat dry with paper towels. Marinate chicken in grapefruit juice in large bowl 2 hours, turning often.

Combine tarragon, parsley, rosemary and bread crumbs in plastic bag. Toss chicken in seasoned crumbs until well coated. Place in single layer on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour or until done. Makes 4 servings.


8 ears corn, shucked and cleaned of silk


1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1/2 teaspoon tarragon leaves, crumbled


1/2 teaspoon chervil leaves, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Rinse corn under cool running water and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside. Combine butter, parsley, chives, tarragon, chervil and pepper in small bowl and mix well. Spread over corn. Wrap corn in aluminum foil and grill over hot coals or spread on corn after boiling. Makes 8 servings.



14 medium-size new potatoes

1 teaspoon basil leaves, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup Dijon mustard


1/4 cup grapefruit juice

1 cup low-fat yogurt

6 green onions, finely chopped

Boil unpeeled potatoes in large kettle about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well and cool. Combine basil, pepper, mustard and grapefruit juice in large bowl. Cut unpeeled potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes and add to juice mixture. Gently toss to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator, add yogurt and green onions and stir gently to mix well. Serve or cover and chill several hours. Makes 8 servings.