Get ready to celebrate your 4th of July with these healthy and delicious twists on your favorite summer foods.
It’s no secret that the 4th of July can make or break a diet because it includes everything necessary for a great celebration: family and friends, delicious barbecue and refreshing cocktails. When the good times start rolling, chances are you’ll end up reaching for whatever food that’s around — and at a 4th of July cookout, hot dogs, burgers and ice cream are never in short supply. So when you get hungry today, remember not to let all of your healthy eating habits fall by the wayside— because you can eat healthy and still enjoy the holiday to its fullest.
Photos: Honestly Yum
Reinvent the Burger
Like apple-pies, burgers are a 4th of July party staple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try something a little different that’s just as flavorful as what you’re used to. Swap high fat meats with lower fat ingredients like turkey, fresh salmon and even lentils. Instead of white bread, try a whole-wheat bun — or ditch the bun altogether for a lettuce wrap topped with avocadoes, caramelized onions and tomatoes.
Choose Better Sides
When it’s time to hit the buffet line, you’re better off skimping on high-calorie side dishes like potato salad and loading up on brown rice, squash and beans. They’ll make you feel fuller longer and they pack serious amounts of fiber — and they can even help lower the “bad” cholesterol LDL.
Stay Off the Sauce
Barbecue sauces, salad dressings and gravies are notorious for being high in fat— and fat-free options aren’t any better because they substitute fat with lots of carbohydrates. If you’re looking to add a punch of flavor to your meal this weekend, your best bet is to use spices like garlic, cumin, oregano —and if you want a kick, chili pepper.
Stir-Up Your Own Drinks
You don’t want the majority of your calories to come from your drinks. So skip sugary sodas and lemonades, and try making your own drink by infusing seltzer water with lemon wedges, blueberries and raspberries— you can even add herbs for a different flavor profile — and your batch will be just as refreshing and delicious as high-calorie cocktails. If homemade drinks aren’t an option, and if you’re planning on having a cocktail or two, try alternating them with water.
Stick to Guilt-Free Desserts
You can still satisfy your sweet tooth without torpedoing your diet. Treat yourself to a parfait with low-fat yogurt and a drizzle of honey, a fruit-infused popsicle or simply munch on some dark chocolate squares (don’t go overboard). Remember, there’s no harm in having a piece of chocolate cake. But if you’re having a big piece, be sure to use the buddy system and share some with a friend. Then sit back and enjoy the fireworks!