Have a Healthy 4th of July!
Posted on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 at 8:51 am
Fourth of July is just around the corner! Not only is the day filled with American history, but it is almost always filled with a good old fashioned outdoor barbecue. Millions of Americans gather on July 4th to enjoy the most common barbecue foods including hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, potato salad, baked beans, pasta salad, dips for chips, American themed deserts, ice cream, and much more. Unfortunately, most of the barbecue foods we all know and love are high in saturated fat, salt, sodium, calories, and sugar. There are plenty of ways to make the Fourth of July a healthier affair:
The first thing to remember when preparing for a healthier Fourth of July feast is that healthy animals make healthy meats. The best type of meat to consume is sustainably raised. Grass-fed beef and free-range chicken are the healthiest. By consuming those meats you will be avoiding the negative effects of excess hormones and antibiotics. If you plan on adding seafood to your party, make sure to buy wild or organic farm-raised fish. When committed to throwing a healthy Fourth of July bash you should really reconsider the hot dog. Try to avoid processed meats with an excess amount of nitrates.
Common barbecue side dishes are usually loaded with unhealthy ingredients. Change that! Swap the mayonnaise in potato or pasta salad for a low-fat yogurt or vinaigrette. Use lemon juice in the coleslaw. Make sure to complement the meal with a variety of vegetables. Green leafy vegetables provide your body with nutrients to counteract some of the harmful effects of the other foods at the barbecue. Offer a large green salad as a side. Summer is a great time to find locally grown and organic produce in abundance, so take advantage! Don’t forget to throw some fresh corn on the grill for another delicious vegetable addition to the meal.
Finger food is a must at an outdoor barbecue. Unfortunately the most common and easiest are not the healthiest. The big bag of chips and fatty dip can be replaced with a vegetable platter and hummus. Fruit and vegetable kabobs are a great alternative for other party snacks!
Replace desserts altogether with fresh summertime fruits! People won’t complain about sliced watermelon, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, and grapes. Make sure to have a lot of fruit available because it can get eaten quickly. Buying a lot of fruit can get pricey. Check out what’s on the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15” list, so you don’t necessarily have to purchase it in organic varieties if you cannot afford to.
Make sure to avoid the extra sugary juices and punches. Why not give fresh squeezed homemade lemonade a try? You can easily limit the amount of sugar, and quench thirst the healthier way. Forget the alcoholic beverages altogether. It’s not needed to have a good time with family and friends. If it is expected to be provided, don’t buy a lot. If it runs out, it runs out!
Give your outdoor barbecue a healthy makeover and start new healthier traditions this Fourth of July!