Happy 4th of July or Independence Day! I bet many of you are glad to have the long weekend to celebrate a very important day in our American history. It’s the day America became its own nation. Whoo hoo! How many of you are having barbecues or are throwing some sort of get together with friends and family that involves food? Me, too!
And I know that it’s always difficult to be health conscious during a holiday, but that’s why I’m here! I’m here to give some little tips to make your July 4th slightly healthier.
1. Grill Veggies!
Planning to grill hot dogs and burgers for your barbecue? Why not throw some sliced beets that have been seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper alongside them? Adding any vegetables to the grill would make any meal more nutritious! It’s incredibly simple, too! Just toss any vegetable of your choice: portobello mushrooms, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, etc. in olive oil, salt, and pepper and then start grilling them! These parties are the perfect time to introduce your loved ones to healthier food choices.
You could also grill up portobello mushrooms as your ‘burgers’. Check out the Portobello Goat Cheese Burger on this site for a tasty vegetarian burger.
2. Fruit Platter
Arrange an assortment of fruit on a plate and place them in an easily accessible area for your guests. Fruit have plenty of vitamins and their juices tend to help us stay hydrated in this summer heat! Instead of candy or chips, fruit would be the healthiest choice as a snack for yourself and your guests.
3. Baked Potato Wedges as a Snack
Potatoes tend to have a bad reputation. Maybe it’s because people associate them with cellulite or something. But hey, don’t hate on the potatoes. They have plenty of nutrients to offer you, and when prepared properly, they are not considered unhealthy at all!
Set your oven to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, slice 2-3 russet potatoes into thin wedges, coat them in 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil, season them with some garlic salt, pepper, dried thyme, and dried rosemary, and then bake them for about 30-40 minutes. Flip them over about halfway into baking so that both sides are browned and crispy. Healthy potato wedges for the win!
4. Make an Added Sugar Free Dessert
Everyone loves chocolate! Give these yummy, rich chocolate Black Bean Brownies a shot. Don’t even tell your guests that these brownies are made out of black beans and see if they can tell that there’s something different.
If you don’t feel like baking something for dessert, the fruit platter mentioned earlier in this post would also serve well as a dessert. You could also give my vegan No Bake Samoa Cookies a try.
5. “Red, White, and Blue” Smoothie
If you have a smaller gathering, this smoothie is sure to keep your guests cool and satisfied. It’s July 4th themed because of the frozen strawberries (red), bananas (white), and blueberries (blue). It’s supposed to represent the American flag–both patriotic and healthy.
Instructions: Toss about a cup of frozen blueberries, 2 slices of oranges, 5 frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup crushed ice, 1 whole banana, 3 slices of apple, and 1/2 cup of milk into a blender and blend to desired consistency.
6. Hydrate on Healthy Beverages
One of the most important things to remember at these summer gatherings is staying hydrated! And no, not on sugar ladened sodas. Don’t even have soda as an option in your fridge to keep the temptation away from yourself and others.
Water should always be your number one source of hydration. Leave glasses or plastic cups out for your guests to refill on water. Make sure that water is easily accessible for your guests. You could also make a large pitcher of iced water infused with some freshly sliced cucumber and mint leaves to further entice your guests to drink plenty of water.
Another healthy drink option other than water is this passion tea lemonade that can easily be whipped up in a large pitcher before all the guests arrive.
7. Make Yourself Move
It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re sitting down and catching up with family and friends. Have some outdoor equipment such as croquet, a football, a soccer ball, frisbee, etc. available so that you and your guests can get moving at any point of the day! You could all also take a walk around the block to get your blood circulating before/after lunch or dinner. Maybe you’ll find a bunch of goats at the end of your street too!
All in all, the fourth of July is meant to be enjoyed. Find different ways to keep yourself and others moving. Also be aware of what you’re eating, but know that it isn’t the end of the world if you aren’t eating at your healthiest. This is why we do our best to eat healthy on a daily basis. It is so we can indulge ourselves on special occasions such as these without any negative health related repercussions.
Have a fun and safe July 4th everyone! Let’s try not to set anything on fire.
My dog is currently refusing to go to sleep because she is absolutely terrified of the incessant ‘booming’ from our neighbor’s fireworks. Poor old pup. I hope everyone else’s dogs are faring better than mine!