Fueling your Fourth:  Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle on the 4th of July

| Sarah Johnson, MS, RD

The 4th of July is a day of celebration, fireworks, and, of course, delicious food. While it’s easy to get carried away with indulgent treats, it’s important to remember that healthy eating can still be a part of the festivities.  When we eat better, we feel better, and when we feel better, we are more present to enjoy this time with the people we love. Here are a few easy ways to set yourself up for success, helping you enjoy a nutritious and flavorful 4th of July while keeping your health goals in mind.

  1. Embrace Fresh and Seasonal Ingredients: One of the best ways to promote healthy eating on the 4th of July is by incorporating fresh and seasonal ingredients into your dishes. Fresh corn, juicy watermelon, and colorful berries are all excellent choices that embody the spirit of summer. Including these nutritious options in your menu adds delicious flavor while providing essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  2. Lighten Up Your Grilling Game:  Don’t skip the protein for all side dishes. Grilling is a staple of the 4th of July celebrations and is a great way to make sure you get in enough protein to help keep you feeling full and less likely to reach for extra treats. Consider also grilling a variety of vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and asparagus for a colorful and nutritious side dish.
  3. Make Healthier Side Dishes: Traditional side dishes like potato salad and coleslaw can be heavy on calories and leave you feeling a bit sluggish. Instead, make sure to have healthier options accessible. Prepare a refreshing salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a tangy vinaigrette, or make a fresh fruit salad or fruit kabobs. Additionally, roasted sweet potato wedges or grilled vegetable skewers make excellent, fiber-rich options that are both satisfying and nutritious.
  4. Hydration is Key: On a hot summer day, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. While sugary beverages like soda and lemonade are popular choices, they can contribute to empty calories and spikes in blood sugar. Try opting for healthier alternatives like infused water with slices of citrus fruits or refreshing herbal iced teas. For an added twist, freeze some fruits and use them as ice cubes in your water or sparkling water. Not only will it keep you hydrated, but it’ll also provide a burst of natural flavor.

This 4th of July, you can enjoy a festive and flavorful celebration without compromising your healthy eating habits. By embracing fresh ingredients, choosing lean proteins, and making lighter side dishes, you can create a spread that is both nutritious and delicious. Remember to stay hydrated and savor the flavors of summer, all while maintaining a balanced approach to your diet. If you are looking for expert help with balanced eating or meal planning and grocery shopping, our dietitian would be glad to be of service. Contact us for a free consultation. Have a happy and healthy 4th of July!

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