Festive, Fun, & Healthy 4th of July BBQ!

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July 2, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter

Holidays are for celebrating, and celebrating usually means consuming copious amounts of food. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy your 4th of July favorites in a healthy and delicious way! Done right, the typical 4th of July menu can actually be very wholesome. Here is a menu that whole family can enjoy:

Snacks:

  • Yummy, refreshing slices of watermelon—have some fun with it and cut out little pieces of melon with star-shaped cookie cutters to get into the holiday spirit!
  • Patriotic popcorn—add red, white, & blue sprinkles, marshmallows, and/or red and blue m&m’s to some low-fat popcorn. Popcorn is better than other snacks such as chips and pretzels, as it is packed with whole grains and fiber. The toppings are just an added treat!
  • Hummus with vegetables and whole-wheat pita—sometimes all we need is something to munch on, and what has a better crunch than a fresh, crisp carrot?

Dinner:

  • Burgers on whole-wheat buns—try having a low-fat beef burger, or even a chicken or turkey burger. Poultry is naturally leaner and is still packed with flavor and protein. If you’re adventurous, veggie burgers are also a great BBQ treat not just reserved for vegetarians! Burgers are great on whole-wheat buns, whose fiber will fill you up more so you may not have to go up for seconds!
  • Toppings—Finish your burgers off with toppings to add extra taste! Skip the mayo or cheese, and maybe opt for creamy guacamole or spicy mustard. You get an added bonus for creating a burger topped with veggies like tomato, lettuce, and onions.
  • Corn on the cob—There is no better (or more fun!) way to eat corn than straight off the cob. Put it straight on the grill for added flavors, so you don’t even have to add butter to it!
  • Salad—salad is the perfect addition to any summer meal. Remember, the darker the greens, the better! Darker greens tend to be packed with more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. As for the dressing, why not try oil and vinegar?
  • Light potato salad—check out this healthier version of a potato salad from foodnetwork.com. Vinegar, olive oil, and Dijon mustard replace the need for fatty sour cream and mayo: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/poppy-seed-potato-salad-recipe/index.html

Dessert:

  • Fresh berries and yogurt parfait—strawberries and blueberries layered with low-fat yogurt make for a perfect patriotic dessert! Berries are naturally sweet and are packed with antioxidants, while the yogurt adds protein and calcium.
  • Homemade popsicles—get creative and blend fresh fruit together to freeze in Popsicle molds for later. Follow these easy instructions from inhabitat.com to learn how to make these refreshing and healthy treats: http://inhabitat.com/how-to-make-homemade-healthy-organic-popsicles/

As you can see, there are many ways to celebrate your favorite holidays while still eating healthy. Eating healthy doesn’t always mean depriving yourself, it just means getting creative and trying new foods that you may not have experienced before!

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Authors

Dr. Wali Gauvin

Kendra Fink RD CPT

Jessica Griffin: Intern

Julianna Yi: Intern

Marielle Mangano: Intern

Jackie Page: Intern

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