When the Fourth of July holiday comes to mind – a backyard grill-out with hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips and your favorite childhood dessert might be what most people picture. The Fourth of July doesn’t get a very good reputation for being a health conscious holiday but you don’t have to fall into this stigma. Start a new tradition and make this Fourth of July healthier with these tips!
- If you love the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs for the holiday, be conscious of what meat you pick. Choose a lean hamburger meat (10% or less fat) and hot dogs or brats with 100% real meat. If you read the ingredient list and are unsure what some of the ingredients are, chances are it is processed. Or, swap out the traditional beef burgers and pork hot dogs for turkey or chicken burgers and dogs, which are naturally leaner meats.
- Marinade, marinade, marinade! Marinating gives flavor to lean cuts of meat without adding more fat. Choose healthier marinating options that are low in sodium or experiment making your own with vinegars or fresh citrus juices like lemons, limes and oranges.
- Pick whole wheat or multigrain buns. Or, skip the buns all together and make kebabs alternating pieces of onion, peppers and your choice of lean meat on a stick.
- Add fruits and vegetables to the grill to get more antioxidants out of your typical barbeque meal. Try grilling zucchini, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, pears and pineapple to add some unique and healthy flavors to your plain old burgers.
- Have healthy side dishes! A fruit salad with strawberries, blueberries and bananas makes for a patriotic dish and swap the chips and dip for veggies and hummus.
- A fruit, yogurt and granola parfait or fresh fruit popsicles are festive and healthy desert alternatives.
- Last but not least, BE ACTIVE! If you’re hosting a backyard BBQ make sure to have some yard games or fun competitions setup for your guests.