Katie’s Healthy Bites: Healthy Tips for July 4th

by in Uncategorized, July 2, 2010

healthy picnic

The Fourth of July is one of the greatest ways to celebrate summer and America –- we head to the beach, go swimming and get together for a good old fashioned cookout. With cheeseburgers, potato salads, hot dogs and beer on the menu,  it’s no wonder people can easily consume more than 1,600 calories at a BBQ.  That’s nearly a day’s worth of calories!

The good news is that keeping your waistline trim doesn’t mean you have to disappoint your taste buds or cut out your favorite summer foods. Here are a few of my favorite Healthy Eats recipes to help you celebrate the red, white and blue — sensibly.

Smarter Starters
It’s not a BBQ without a few snacks, but that doesn’t mean you have to serve high-calorie chips and dipppers.  Stock the snack table with your favorite brands of better-for-you chips (I like whole-grain Food Should Taste Good Chips or  low-fat Pop Chips) or try making your own bagel chips.  Pair them with a seasonal salsa, my kalamata white bean dip or cucumber dill dip for a super yummy guilt-free accompaniment.

The Main Event
When it’s burger time, swap lean meats like buffalo, chicken or turkey for their higher-fat counterparts.  You can also sneak in nutrients and add flavor by including veggies like corn, beans or arugula right in the patties.  Pair them with a toasted whole grain English muffin for a fun, healthy spin on the traditional bun.  Need more inspiration? Try three of my favorite burger recipes.

On the Side
Potato salad is a BBQ must–have, but you don’t have to load on the mayo. I love this colorful potato salad packed with celery, tomato, bell pepper, radicchio and herbs — it is like sunshine in a bowl.  Be creative and add whatever seasonal veggies you have around the house — the more colorful the veggies, the more nutrients. Craving pasta salad? try this recipe it is sure to please the crowd.

Sweet Summer Desserts
Growing up, fruit salad was always delicious, healthy dessert option, but you can make it more grown up by adding some mint, lime and champagne.  If you prefer ice cream, cool off with gelato or sorbet rather than full-fat ice cream.

Something to Sip On
Last but not least, we can’t forget about those tasty BBQ beverages. By stocking up with tasty lower-calorie options, you can save some room to enjoy all your Fourth of July spread has to offer.

  • When we’re craving soda, we opt for Coca-Cola’s Mini cans (they come in a variety of flavors).  At 7.5 ounces and 90 calories, it will satisfy a soda craving without gobbling up the calories you wanted to save for dessert.
  • In the mood for something fruity and refreshing?  Muddle lime, mint and a few blackberries in sparkling water. A splash of champagne or vodka works well here to please the adult crowd. Or, try my watermelon slush for a kid friendly refreshing summer beverage.
  • Need to hydrate but craving flavor?  Add cucumbers, orange segments or lime to pitchers of water for an (almost) calorie-free, flavorful drink.
  • Nothing better then beer and a burger?  Check out Healthy Eats’ Light beer taste test so you can enjoy maximum flavor and minimum calories!

Have a happy, healthy and delicious Fourth of July!

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie’s full bio »

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