Along with every holiday celebration comes the fear of packing on unwanted pounds. Luckily, not all cookout cuisine will derail your diet. Below, check out fun, fresh, and healthier foods to incorporate into your 4th of July celebration.
Burgers all around! Who says burgers have to be bad for you…or that they have to be boring?
- Prefer to avoid red meat? You can choose a turkey burger, which is a good source of protein. But not all turkey burgers are created equal, so be sure to pick a low-fat turkey burger made with lean turkey.
- Vegetarians can enjoy many types of veggie burgers. Boca provides a great variety of burgers (some of theirs are also appropriate for vegan diets). Their burgers are made from soy, veggies, and sometimes cheese, too.
- If you want a more traditional burger, choose ground beef that’s 95% lean. Just that one step could save you 170 calories and 19 grams of fat!
- In lieu of sauces and condiments, veggies make great burger toppings. Sliced tomato is a fresh and flavorful alternative to ketchup, and sliced avocado can give you a dose of monounsaturated fat–aka “good fat”–that can help keep cholesterol in check.
- Cutting out carbs? Instead of using a bun, wrap your burger–veggie toppings and all–in a crisp lettuce leaf.
- For tips on how to safely prepare meat for your cookout, click here.
Be smart about side dishes. One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fresh fruit and veggies available, so take advantage!
- Go nuts for salad. Add some flair to your salad by adding walnuts (packed with heart-healthy fats as well as fiber) and fresh, sliced strawberries. Dress the salad with something flavorful and fat-free, like a vinaigrette.
- Ears on the barbie! Corn can control blood sugar levels and, because it resists digestion, can help you feel full faster. You can brush corn (with the husks pulled back, but not removed) on the cob with olive oil (another “good fat”) and throw ’em on the grill.
- Put it on a stick. You can load up kebabs with fresh chunks of veggies–various colors of peppers, yellow squash, onions, and potassium-rich mushrooms. Skewer them, brush them with olive oil, and grill ’em up! Click here for an appetizing veggie kebab recipe.
Save room for dessert! Dessert doesn’t have to be fattening to be delicious…
- Get festive. Want a red, white and blue dessert? Serve fresh, antioxidant-rich berries like blueberries, sweet cherries, strawberries, and raspberries with a low-calorie whipped cream alternative like Cool Whip Lite.
- Say “aloha” to a flatter belly! Pineapple is an anti-inflammatory food, which means that it could help reduce swelling and bloating. For a tasty and easy-to-prepare dessert that’s rich in calcium, vitamin C, and is a good source of iron, try the Granola Pineapple Parfait, which combines low-fat yogurt, crushed pineapple, low-fat granola, and spices.