Ah, July 4th. It’s a day where we all get together and celebrate independence, fireworks and potato salad. The time spent with family and friends is priceless – or is it? When you start thinking about the price your waistline will pay for the overindulgence, the holiday can become a little scary. That’s why it’s important to have healthy options.
At a 4th of July barbecue, it can be hard to completely steer clear of the “junk” food completely, but when there are some healthy choices, you have a much better chance. So, if you’re throwing the party, try to fill the menu with healthy options – and just a few indulgences. If someone else is in charge, bring a plate or two that you know you can enjoy without guilt.
Here are some ideas for healthy 4th of July drinks and dishes:
Marinated grilled chicken – Your marinade can be as simple or complex as you’d like. If you’re a fan of simplicity (as I am), just use lime juice and minced garlic and marinate for about 3 to 4 hours. The citrus not only adds a fresh flavor, but it also pre-tenderizes the chicken.
White sangria – This is a great alternative to hard liquor or even beer because it combines wine (which contains antioxidants) and fresh fruit. Try melons and berries to give your sangria a summery feel.
Marinated Portobello mushrooms – Portobellos have a meaty consistency without all the saturated fat and cholesterol. They can even be placed on the grill, and then in a bun. It’s a healthy alternative to the standard beef burger.
Fresh Tomato and Cucumber Salad – The mouthwatering combo of diced tomatoes and cucumbers along with fresh basil and a splash of balsamic vinegar is a tasty treat that almost couldn’t be healthier.
Pasta Primavera – Combine cooked pasta (whole grain, if possible) with all sorts of grilled veggies and a bit of olive oil and white wine to make this healthy dish. Try adding sautéed onion, bell pepper, cooked peas and grilled zucchini.