Healthy 4th of July Food Swaps

Have a healthy celebration. (source:duboix/morguefile)

If your 4th of July includes a picnic, an outdoor barbecue or a get-together of any sort, you’ve probably got plenty of food to prepare.  Why not create a healthy 4th of July menu?  Use these simple food swaps to prepare delicious foods that are low in calories and full of nutrients.

Easy Summer Food Swaps

A recent survey conducted by Cub Foods found that hamburgers, hot dogs, and potato salad top the list of favorite 4th of July foods.   While these items might be popular with your friends and family, they are loaded with fat and calories.  So how do you keep everyone happy with lower calorie options?  Cub Foods registered dietitian Heidi Diller has a few suggestions.

  • On the grill:  Chicken is an easy alternative to higher fat meats.  But Diller also suggests trying shrimp, salmon or halibut.   Grilled veggies like zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, and tomatoes are also delicious.  But if you or your guests still prefer a traditional burger, use lean ground turkey instead of beef.  “You just need to add a small amount of a marinade to the meat to give it moisture, “ she says.
  • Healthier potato salad.  When asked about an alternative to potato salad, Diller pointed out that potatoes are healthy!  “Potatoes always get a bad rap which is sad because they are loaded with vitamin C, potassium and fiber.  Its what you add to the potato salad that makes it dripping with fat and calories.”  She suggests that when you make your potato salad at home, replace half the mayo with nonfat Greek yogurt and add more vegetables like celery, onion and artichoke hearts.
  • Low-cal finger foods.  Instead of potato chips, provide finger foods that are lower in fat and calories.  Baby carrots are popular among Minnesotans, but Diller suggests branching out and adding fresh pea pods, string beans, raw jicama, red bell peppers, or cucumber for added color and crunch.

The survey conducted by Cub also found that corn on the cob and watermelon are favorite foods to serve at summer picnics and barbecues. These are great healthy foods to keep on the menu!

Have a safe and healthy holiday from your friends at the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss Program.  If you haven’t done so already, join us on Facebook for more cooking tips, recipes and fitness advice.

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