4 ways to eat healthy on the Fourth of July


by Baylor Scott & White Health

Jun 30, 2023

Summer is in full swing and the Fourth of July is just around the corner. For many, indulging in delicious barbecue and tempting treats is part of their traditional celebrations.

But it’s possible to make healthy eating choices without damping the spirit of the holiday. Here are four food suggestions that will help you savor the flavors of the summer and give your body the nourishment it needs.

1. Substitute chicken breast for hot dogs

Instead of hot dogs, try barbeque chicken . Depending on the variety, one hot dog can contain around 150 calories and up to 20 grams of fat, plus sodium nitrate, which is known to increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Three ounces of skinless chicken breast not only provides ample protein at 21 grams per serving but also has more than 75% less fat than a hot dog (without the bun and toppings) at 3 grams of fat.

For added flavor, try this homemade seasoning (courtesy of Cooking Light magazine) to add flavor without piling on fat and calories.

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

2. Choose grilled veggies instead of potato saladfood-dinner-grilled-shashlik.jpg

Instead of potato salad, which is often loaded with fat and calories from the mayonnaise and eggs, try grilled vegetables.

  • Cut up potatoes, carrots, onions and summer squash into large chunks.
  • Toss with olive oil, garlic and rosemary, and place on the grill in a covered, foil-lined pan.
  • Cook for 20 minutes.

3. Try healthier burger alternatives


Instead of burgers made with 80% lean / 20% fat ground beef, try burgers made with 3 ounces of 90% lean / 10% fat ground beef. The change in meat to one with the higher meat and lower fat percentage will decrease the total fat and calorie intake.

To add bulk to your burgers without sacrificing flavor or nutrition, consider these two options:

  • Mix in 1-2 cups of finely chopped mushrooms.
  • Mash one 15-ounce can of low sodium black beans into one pound of the ground beef and form into patties. This decreases the total calorie and fat content and increases the fiber content. And your family won’t be able to taste the difference!

You may also want to check out plant-based options for your Independence Day cookout. Meatless burgers have surged in popularity in recent years as advancements in food technology have allowed veggie patties to replicate the taste, texture and even the "juiciness" of beef.

4. Replace pie with a yogurt parfait 


What is a Fourth of July celebration without dessert? Instead of diving into a thick slice of cake or pie, try a parfait made with Greek yogurt and colorful berries. You can feel both healthy and patriotic with this red, white and blue dessert that not only saves you calories and fat, but also provides disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Here’s how you can make your own parfait at home:

  • Layer the bottom of a glass bowl with a mix of raspberries and strawberries.
  • Add a layer of plain Greek yogurt mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of honey for added sweetness.
  • Top with a layer of blueberries.

By making some simple substitutions and opting for lighter alternatives, you can enjoy a delicious, nutritious Fourth of July feast. Have a happy, healthy holiday!

Questions about nutrition? Connect with a registered dietician near you.

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