Put a Healthy Spin on your 4th of July Festivities
July 4th is one of the most quintessential holidays of summertime, therefore making it the ideal time to bring out the ultimate in patriotic spirit with a festive red, white and blue celebration. While traditional BBQ and beverages commonly go hand-in-hand with the holiday, we have some ideas for a healthier spin on celebrating that the whole family will love.
- Make Healthy Swaps for Main Dishes. Hot dogs and hamburgers often contain a ton of fat, calories and processed additives. If you must have meat, choose organic, grass-fed beef versions to avoid consuming hormones and antibiotics. If you just can’t resist the classics, at least forgo the fatty mayo, cheese and chili toppings and instead, go with mustard, relish and onions. Many meatless substitutes are now available to provide satisfying flavor without the animal fat, usually made with veggies or legumes– just be sure to watch for added salt to avoid bloat.
- Swap Out Traditional Side Dishes. Instead of serving mayo-laden potato salad, traditional coleslaw with shredded cabbage, carrots and cider vinegar (not mayonnaise!) is a healthier swap. Get double duty out of the grill with some stacked vegetable skewers, for a great side choice instead of standard fried chips and dip. Tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers are super tasty with a slight charcoaled finish. Toss some corn on the cob on the grill as well, as it becomes extra juicy and sweet versus boiling.
- Put a Healthy Spin on Sweets. Summer fruit is at its peak this time of year, so stock up on blueberries, strawberries and raspberries to make a healthy parfait. Just add a dollop of whipped cream for a (mostly) healthy indulgence! For a little extra holiday flair, take some berry juice and let some cut starfruit soak overnight in the refrigerator to create a tasty and festive fruit display topper.
- Indulge Mindfully. If you do choose to indulge in a little ice cream or some greasy potato chips, savor slowly. Research has shown that people who eat mindfully consume less calories, and also enjoy their food more. The same goes for drinking. If you decide to imbibe, alternate each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water to slow the pace and stay hydrated when the weather is hot. Also, stick to a beer or glass of wine instead of mixed drinks like margaritas, which pack excessive sugar and calories.
- Get Nostalgic with Classic Games. There’s an old saying that inside every adult is the heart of a child. That being said, all ages will enjoy participating in at least one of these game ideas for a little exercise to pump up the heart rate and burn off some calories. Set up a play station in the yard with a few jump ropes, hula hoops, bocce balls, a Frisbee, and some water balloons, and let the fun begin!