Heart Healthy Side Dishes for Labor Day

To maintain your weight loss, it’s important to adapt clean eating habits. Avoid recipes that call for heavy creams and sauces. Whereas these types of recipes taste good, they don’t support your weight loss goals or your weight loss maintenance. It’s important that your food habits support your goals, otherwise you will end up regaining the weight, then frustration and discouragement set in, and before you know what’s happening, you quit. There are ways to maintain your healthy lifestyle, even during the holidays but it comes with a pre-determined commitment to the process and planning.

Here are some recipes that I think will allow you to enjoy your old favorites and also will help you to make it through this Labor Day’s celebrations without unraveling your weight loss goals. A couple of weeks ago, I attended an event that provided a box lunch and one of the sides were potato salad. When I opened the box, to my amazement, the potatoes did not have heavy mayonnaise or no cream, for that matter. The type of dressing that was used was light, tasty and healthy. In my research, I think I found a recipe similar and want to share it with you, along with a couple of recipes for coleslaw. I think you and your family will like these.

Herb Roasted Potato Salad


This healthy red potato salad recipe is full of fresh flavor. It's mayo-free and so easy to make. Sure to be a hit at your potluck! This salad is vegan and gluten free. Recipe yields 6 to 8 side servings.


2 pounds small new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds

1 tablespoon salt

¼ cup olive oil

⅓ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish

⅓ cup roughly chopped green onions, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 stalks celery, chopped


  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven combine sliced potatoes and salt. Cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are easily pierced by a paring knife and pulled out with little resistance, about 5 to 6 minutes.

  2. Reserve ¼ cup cooking water, then drain. Transfer potatoes to a large mixing bowl.

  3. In a small food processor or blender, combine the olive oil, ⅓ cup parsley, ⅓ cup green onions, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic and freshly ground black pepper. Process until the herbs and garlic have been chopped into little pieces, then drizzle in the reserved cooking water and blend just until emulsified. (If you don't have a food processor or blender, just finely chop the parsley and onions and whisk the dressing together until emulsified.)

  4. Drizzle the potatoes with the herbed olive oil mixture and mix well. (It will look like you've poured in too much dressing, but don't worry, the potatoes will soak it up!) Let the potatoes rest for ten minutes, tossing every few minutes.

  5. Add the celery to the bowl, along with a couple tablespoons each of chopped parsley and green onions. Toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve. This salad is best served within a few hours, but will keep well in the refrigerator for about two days.

Seedy Simple Slaw


This healthy coleslaw recipe tastes amazing! It’s made with a simple lemon dressing and features toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Its gluten free and vegan, which means it's a perfect potluck dish (you might want to double the ingredients if you're serving a crowd). Recipe yields 4 to 6 side servings.



2 cups finely sliced purple cabbage (one small cabbage will be more than plenty)

2 cups finely sliced green cabbage (one small cabbage will be more than plenty)

2 cups shredded carrots (I used store-bought shredded organic carrots, but you could also grate them on a box grater, in a food processor, or julienne the carrots with a sharp knife)

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Up to ¾ cup mixed seeds (I used mostly pepitas—aka green pumpkin seeds—and sunflower seeds, with some sesame seeds and poppy seeds)

Lemon dressing

¼ cup olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste

1 clove garlic, pressed or minced

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon salt


  1. In a medium serving bowl, combine the prepared purple and green cabbage, carrots and parsley. Set aside.

  2. Measure out your seeds into a small skillet. Toast over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the seeds are fragrant and the pepitas are starting to make little popping noises. Pour the toasted seeds into the mixing bowl and toss to combine.

  3. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, combine the olive oil with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Add the garlic, cumin and salt and whisk until thoroughly blended.

  4. Drizzle the dressing over the slaw and toss until all of the ingredients are lightly coated in dressing. Taste and add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice if the slaw needs a little more zip. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate to marinate for up to several hours.

If you want a creamy version, here’s a recipe that I think you and your family would love.

Greek Yogurt Coleslaw


Yield: About 4½ cups, depending on how long it sits


½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

3½ tablespoons cider vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

16 ounces (about 6¼ cups) bagged coleslaw blend or shredded cabbage


In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper and whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Place slaw blend/cabbage in a large bowl and pour Greek yogurt dressing mixture over top. Stir to coat cabbage thoroughly.

Cover and refrigerate until using (preferably at least 30 minutes).


Make-Ahead: This coleslaw keeps well, covered in the refrigerator, and can easily be made several hours in advance. In fact, we prefer to let it sit for at least half an hour before serving, so that the cabbage softens a bit and the whole salad melds together. We find that it's at its best, though, if eaten within a day or two.

Nutrition with Annie’s Notes

The less sugar the better but keep in mind that 3 tablespoons sugar is in the entire dish and unless you are eating the entire dish by yourself, you are getting only a small portion of the sugar in your serving. So I wouldn’t be alarmed because it calls for 3 tablespoons, however, I would start with one tablespoon of sugar and add more if needed. You might find that you don’t need the suggested amount in the recipe. I also recommend choosing a yogurt that’s low in sugar.


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