It’s July 4th weekend, which means many of us have been gearing up not only for time spent with family and friends but also for our annual BBQ parties! This particular weekend is popular for traditional dishes that tend to contain high amounts of fat and sugar. However, grilling is actually a great way to prepare healthy and wholesome foods. Here are some Independence Day Do-over’s to help make your Fourth of July nutritious and still delicious!
Chips and Dip- Go for baked chips and dips such as salsa, hummus, and bean dip. To incorporate some veggies, give baby carrots, celery sticks, and cucumbers a try. They go great with the dips listed above or just plain!
Green Salad- Start your BBQ meal with a nice light side salad. Prepare a salad with a variety of vegetables including Romaine lettuce, spinach leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, artichokes, and more! Incorporate some healthy fats by adding some avocado and olives. For your salad dressing, stick with a light vinaigrette.
*If you prefer another type of dressing, make sure to limit your portions.
Meats/ Non-meat foods for Grilling:
Hamburgers- To decrease the fat content of your burgers, search for the leanest ground beef you can find. Another option is to use ground turkey to grill up some scrumptious turkey burgers. They’re just as tasty as beef burgers, just lower in saturated (bad) fat.
6 oz Beef Burger= 365 calories, 25 g fat, 10 g sat. fat.
6 oz Turkey Burger= 250 calories, 14 g fat, 4 g sat. fat
Hot dogs- Ever give turkey dogs a try? Trust me, you probably won’t taste the difference.
Beef hot dog= 150 calories and 15 g fat.
Turkey hot dog= 100 calories and 8 g fat
Steaks- choose leaner cuts (and with trimmed fat) such as: top sirloin steak, eye of round roast and steak, top round roast and steak, bottom round roast and steak, brisket-flat half, tenderloin roast and steak
Chicken- Go for the skinless, boneless chicken breasts. They are great on a whole-wheat bun or bun-less with a side of grilled veggies.
Nonmeat Options- Veggie or soy-based products fit perfectly with any BBQ. Veggie or soy burgers/hot dogs are great meat substitutions that are low in fat and high in protein. In addition, many contain fiber. Pair your soy burger with a whole-wheat bun and some grilled vegetables and you’re more than halfway to your recommended daily fiber!
Kabobs- Combine your lean meats with some grilled veggies such as onions, bell peppers (all colors), and mushrooms. It’s a creative and tasty way to incorporate vegetables into your BBQ.
Vegetables- Grilled or roasted fresh vegetables are so easy and equally delicious. Cook up some squash, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, corn on the cob, and mushrooms and season with black pepper, thyme, and rosemary. You won’t be sorry you served these!
Potato Salad- Traditional potato salad recipes are mayonnaise-based, which is why it has a high fat content. Remember to watch your portions! A ¼ - ½ cup portion should do! Another option is to try a modified recipe. Try the Southwestern Potato Salad recipe (below).
Coleslaw- Creamy coleslaws are also popular at BBQ’s. Like potato salad, coleslaw tends to be higher in fat due to the mayo and/or creamy dressings used. Portion control is warranted here again. If you’d like to try a new and creative coleslaw, check out the recipe below for Crunchy Fruity Coleslaw.
Baked Beans- Baked beans are loaded with protein and fiber. If you keep it vegetarian, they are also low in fat. However, many canned favorites tend to be high in sodium and sugar. If you prefer these canned baked beans, try to search for reduced sodium and reduced fat versions.
What’s July 4th without a little something sweet? Try some of these healthy dessert ideas:
Graham Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches- Use reduced fat ice cream or frozen yogurt between 2 graham cracker squares
Banana Pudding- Prepare sugar free banana pudding and mix with fresh banana slices and vanilla wafers
Red White and Blue Angel food- To keep in the July 4th spirit, serve slices of angel food cake with fresh strawberries and blueberries.
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait- Set out all these ingredients for your guests to create their own parfait the way they like it!
Low-fat yogurt (any flavor)
Fresh fruit: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, grapes, and blackberries
Unsalted Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, peanuts
Sweet Treats: Dark chocolate chips, Mini M&Ms, Reese’s pieces (watch your portions with these!)
Crescent Roll Fruit Pizza- Try this light and refreshing fruit pizza recipe from Cooks.com
2 (8 oz.) pkg. refrigerated Crescent dinner rolls
1 tbsp. Granulated sugar
1 (8 oz.) container Light Cool Whip
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tbsp. Honey
1 c. Kiwi fruit, thinly sliced
1 c. Strawberries, halved
1 c. Pineapple
1 c. Seedless grapes, sliced
1 c. Bananas
1 c. Any other fresh fruit you desire
3 tbsp. Confectioners' sugar
Pinch crescent rolls together in pizza pan to form crust. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake at 350 degrees until brown. Cool completely. Add to container of Cool Whip, cinnamon and honey. Mix well. Spread over crust and add fruit (be creative.). Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
The easiest way to control your calorie and sugar consumption is by choosing calorie and sugar free beverages.
-Water is always best, especially on a hot July day!
-For some flavor, try Crystal Light.
-Stick to Unsweet Tea and sweeten it with a sugar substitute like Splenda or Sweet n Low
2 c. Sweet tea= 115 calories, 20 g sugar
2 c. Unsweet tea (with sugar substitute)= 0 calories, 0 g sugar
-If you want soda, go for the diet version. If you prefer regular soda, stick to 1 serving.
Southwestern Potato Salad
Those whose preferences lean toward the spicy will love this salad. Adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the amount of jalapeño and chipotle chile.
Makes 8 servings
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 pounds small red potatoes
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Remove 1 chipotle chile from can. Chop chile to measure 2 teaspoons. Reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use.
Place potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch cubes. Place potatoes in a large bowl.
Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add corn; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add corn, celery, and next 5 ingredients (celery through jalapeño) to potatoes; toss gently.
Combine 2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chile, lime juice, oil, salt, and black pepper, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle the lime juice mixture over potato mixture, and toss gently. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.
Serving size- ½ cup; 105 calories; 3 g fat; 19 g carb; 3 g fiber; 200 mg sodium
Crunchy Fruity Coleslaw
Trim & Terrific by Holly Clegg
Pick up a bag of shredded cabbage for effortless preparation of this vibrant salad with a mixture of sweet and savory ingredients in a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. Whenever I make coleslaw, it is always for a crowd, and this recipe feeds them all.
Makes 10–12 servings
4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
4 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced in 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1. In large bowl, combine green and red cabbage, red pepper, apricots, corn, green onions, almonds, and sesame seeds.
2. In small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Toss dressing with salad, mixing well.
Serving size- ½ cup; 60 calories; 3 g fat; 9 g carb; 2 g fiber; 5 g protein; 10 mg sodium