Next weekend is the 4th of July, which means tons of burgers, hot dogs, beer, and fun. However, the traditional BBQ on the 4th of July dosen’t mean you have to bust your diet in the process. We came up with 5 of our favorite and healthy snacks for any 4th of July get together along with tips on how to survive that BBQ and still not feel like you’re missing out on the fun!
Wave your flag and get patriotic with your food!
(click each picture to direct you to the ink with directions)
1.) American Flag Fruit Kabobs
2.) Flag Fruit Pizza
3.) Red, White & Blueberries Platter (make your own yogurt covered pretzels to make this even healthier by clicking here, or sub the pretzels for bananas)
4.) Watermelon & Cheese Flag Tray (for those who do not like strawberries and bananas! This also works well with raspberries, tomatoes, etc. anything red! Sub cheese for cauliflower if making a vegetable tray.)
5.) Red, White & Blueberry Truffle (again, sub out any fruit for the same colored fruit. Example: sub strawberries for raspberries, etc.)
6.) Red, White & Blue Summer Salad (again, sub out any fruit for the same colored fruit. Example: sub strawberries for raspberries, etc. This recipe calls for feta, but you can use lite ranch on the side for the “white” part of the salad )
Next, we have tips for enjoying that 4th of July BBQ without having to wear your stretchy pants!
1.) Contribute something that is good for you. Choose from the options above, or something you typically take (if it’s healthy!) . You’ll be able to get something nutritious in, no matter how decadent all the other offerings are.
2.) Pay attention to portions.
Use these 3 memorable points of reference:
- A tennis ball or baseball = about 1 cup (or use your clenched fist as a rough estimate). This measure is useful for scoopable sides (think: potato, pasta and bean salads). If you’re trying to keep a cap on calories, aim for 1 cup total of these starchy side dishes.
- Your cell phone = about 3 ounces of meat (The other oft-cited reference for 3 ounces of meat is a deck of cards.) This measure comes is useful for steak, chicken and fish.
- Your thumb = about 1 tablespoon. This measure comes in handy when you’re trying to estimate dressing or a spread. Most full-fat salad dressings have 50 to 100 calories per tablespoon (creamy ones fall toward the higher end); mayo (at 100 calories per tablespoon) is another one to watch. Choose reduced-fat varieties, which usually have half the calories, whenever you can.
3.) Fill up on veggies first. Fill up on salads and veggies, however, go easy on the dips. Fill your plate with 1/2 veggies, 1/2 fruit, and then make a small little spot for dips. This way your plate will be too full for any added calories on dips!
4.) Enjoy whats on the grill! More than likely, you’ve been snacking on fruits and veggies. Adding in some protein is your best bet. Skip the bun, or wrap your burger/chicken/whatever is on the grill in lettuce instead!
5.) Don’t go crazy with the carbs! If you’re trying to keep a cap on calories, limit yourself to 1 cup total of starchy side dishes, such as potato, pasta and those delicious bean salads. Of course, you’re not going to whip out a measuring cup at a social event! Instead, visualize a tennis ball… that’s about the size of 1 cup. So is the size of a woman’s fist.
6.) Let yourself have that cookie or piece of cake. Does dessert look irresistible? Dig in. Just make room for it first. Have a piece of lean protein (chicken, fish), grilled vegetables and a healthy side (1/2 cup or so of baked beans or a bean salad) so you can indulge without feeling guilty. Limit to one (two if the deserts are bite sized, like a small cookie, etc.) dessert. Once you’ve had your dessert, walk away from the food and enjoy conversation with friends!
7.) Get Plenty of water in & Limit alcohol. It’s so easy to dehydrate in the summer, especially before a big event. You spend a few hours before hand getting everything ready and the last thing on your mind is to hydrate. try to drink 8 oz of water every hour if you are busy. Try to stray away form alcohol. That dehydrates you and provides necessary calories. However, it is okay to indulge a little when you’re with friends! Just drink a water bottle in between each alcoholic drink. (You will be thanking yourself in the morning too!)
8.) Just have fun. If you are so focused on what to eat, when to eat it, what to drink, etc. the entire time, you will be misreble and will miss out on some great family and friends bonding time. So just remember these steps before you go and have fun. Thats all that counts!
1. Bring something healthy.
2. Watch your portions.
3. Veggies and fruit first!
4. Enjoy whats grilling!
5. Easy on side dishes with extra carbs.
6. Let yourself have dessert.
8. Just have fun. Be thankful for your family and your friends. They are the entire reason you are at the grill out. Do not let your fear of “overeating” get in the way. Know your limits, be thankful, be safe, and have fun!