4 Healthy Recipes for the 4th of July

 

So America’s birthday is right around the corner, and as people prepare for a day of BBQs, fun and fireworks, it dawns on them Independence Day much like other holidays, revolves primarily around eating. This does not have to mean diets should be placed on the back burner however. Here are four great recipes, a drink and three dishes, to get people through this holiday while still maintaining a solid diet plan and keeping to their fitness goals.

Whiskey Sour Light

Beer is well known for empty calories (high calories but low nutrition), and whereas most alcohol will fall into this category, there are some better than others. A great and simple adult drink for those keeping an eye on their health is a whiskey sour with a couple of substitutions. First, whiskey has the fewest calories per ounce when it comes to liquors, and most of the calories from alcoholic beverages come from the mixers (i.e. sodas, fruit juices, higher caloric boozes such as rum or tequila). One can still avoid those while imbibing to say, “Happy Birthday America!”

Take whatever whiskey of choice one might have, and pour an ounce over ice. Then substitute a Diet Sour soda for the standard sugary sour mix to fill the remainder of the drink. Toss the two ingredients in a shaker to mix, and garnish it with a less-sweeter lemon or lime. This will make for a great poolside beverage without the concern of all of those empty calories.

Turkey Burgers & Hot Dogs

Now that one has drink in hand, it is time to hit up the grill. Standard grill fare for the 4th of July is cheeseburgers and hot dogs. Whereas they may be delicious, they are also two of the fattier meat options on the market, and the lack of leanness will only transition to the waistline of those partaking in them. A healthier, yet just as tasty option is to substitute turkey options for the standard pork. Turkey is a far leaner protein, and when it comes to burning calories, the body will use leaner protein foods for longer meaning the person ingesting them will have more energy for extended periods.

Another option should someone not want to forego the beef altogether is to make their hamburger patties from half beef and half turkey. Although not as healthy as a 100% pure turkey burger, these options still allow for a healthier option as opposed to the standard beef patties or hot dogs.

In addition, instead of using regular cheese slices, switching to low fat cheese or even white cheeses will decrease the calories of the burger or dog. Using whole grain or whole-wheat buns, and sticking to low calorie condiments such as mustard and anti-oxidant rich toppings like tomatoes will also increase the healthiness of the meal as well

Sweet Potato Fries

Nothing compliments a good burger like a side of fries. Unfortunately, fried potatoes are among some of the unhealthiest sides out there today. Anytime something is fried in grease, the red flags should go up warning of potential risks of heart disease. The good news is, fries can also be baked, without grease, or in some instances a sprinkling of healthier oils with less trans-fat such as olive oil to provide the same crunch one has come to expect from their fries.

These fries can be hand cut from sweet potatoes found in one’s produce section, or they can be purchased pre-packaged and are typically located in the freezer section. Either option is fine as they are both a healthier option over their deep fried kin.

Not only will baking fries provide a much more heart-healthy option, but the food being fried will aid in that venture as well. For example, sweet potatoes are a much nutrient-rich starch than their standard white potato cousins. Sweet potatoes provide more complex starches that will provide longer lasting energy without the risk of those starched turning to fat as quickly. Offering baked sweet potato fries as an alternative to the standard fried variety will ensure one’s 4th of July meal will continue to be delicious while promoting their overall health.

Red, White & Blue Dessert

Whereas the Apple Pie might be as American as desserts come, it is also about as calorie-filled. Although the apples are generally a healthy option, the sugar and pie dough that are thrown into the mix are usually not. A great side option is a Jell-O parfait.

These can be made as one dessert, or many individual desserts. On can take the two colors of Jell-O, and start with the red on the bottom. Then add a layer of fat-free whipped cream as the second layer. Follow that up with a layer of the blue Jell-O and then repeat until the dish is full.

If the final layer is whipped cream, one can garnish the topping with anti-oxidant rich raspberries and blueberries for a healthy yet guilt-free topper. Doing this will provide the patriotic look people come to expect from the 4th of July, a guilt-free dessert to polish off a health-conscious meal, and most importantly something that provides all the sweetness and richness a dessert should without sacrificing one’s diet.

Conclusion

Just because one has their diet top of mind does not have to mean they forgo great taste in flavor when it comes time to celebrate and fire up the grill. Here are four great recipes that will allow any American to enjoy a flavorful, yet low calorie fare without foregoing all of the comforts they may have come to expect on the 4th of July.

As always, everything in moderation is great, and what has been laid out will still allow for the classic burger and fries combo, a nice poolside beverage to relax with and a great, and even patriotic dessert to take one home by. Happy 4th of July America! Hope you enjoy this modified yet delicious meal!

 

Author Bio: Michelle is a freelance writer for a website that shows people how to exercise by offering free workout plans and exercise videos. She loves all types of physical sports. If she is not working she can be found playing her favorite sport, soccer, at the local park.

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About Beth

Beth Larrabee is a stay at home mom of 3 wonderful children and is married to her wonderful husband Scot. Beth is an active member in her community and is currently the Vice President of the PTO, President of The Friends of Cumston Library, and proud leader of a Daisy and Brownie Girl Scout Troops. In her spare time, Beth enjoys musical theater, singing, gaming, books, spending time at the lake and all things food.

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