Top 10 Healthy --and Fun--July 4th
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June 29, 2010, last updated May 3, 2014
By Louise Carr, Contributing Columnist





Fire up the grill, set up the red, white and blue table decorations
and prepare to eat 'til you drop. The 4th of July is traditionally a
time for enjoying some tasty barbeque treats while watching the
fireworks but is there a way you can enjoy the festivities without
filling yourself with fat? Try these 10 ideas for a healthy
Independence Day celebration.

1.
Skip the Mayo or Dilute It with Mustard

Delicious, creamy mayonnaise is Heaven for the taste buds but
Hell on the hips. It’s easy to eat much more than you can keep
track of as you top up your burgers, pile your plate with dips
and go back for extra servings of potato salad.

One tablespoon of regular mayonnaise contains around 57
calories and nearly 5g of fat.  

Can't do without the mayo taste? Try cutting down the calories
by adding one part mustard for every two parts mayonnaise.

How to Make a Healthy Potato Salad

Counter this double trouble by making potato salad with a
combination of low-fat yogurt and low-fat mayonnaise. Add rice
vinegar, wholegrain mustard and herbs or spices to boost the
taste (try chopped chives, mint, mustard seeds, or even curry
powder for some extra kick).  

A serving of healthy potato salad would contain around 156
calories compared to around 300 calories for the regular version.

How to Make a Healthy Coleslaw

Try making coleslaw with a vinaigrette instead of mayo and add
freshly chopped nuts and raisins for extra antioxidant and ‘good
fat’ benefits. Create change with a spicy or zesty dressing that
stays away from mayo. It’s easy to mix a simple pesto dressing
or try olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, chili and honey.

2.
Think Food Safety

Let’s get one delicate topic out of the way. Think about food
safety or you could have a 4th of July to remember for all the
wrong reasons.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that
every year 76 million Americans are struck down with food
poisoning. You don’t want guests to be more interested in the
bathroom than the fireworks.

Outdoor food requires a little forward planning but, most of all,
common sense.

Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.

Keep cooler food in airtight, watertight containers and add
water to the ice in the box. This will keep temperatures lower for
longer.

Wash your hands between touching raw and cooked food and
make sure those burgers and chicken are cooked right through –
they may be lovely and brown on the outside but it’s the inside
that counts.

3.
Wonderful Watermelon Is a Healthy Fruit for July 4th

Fresh, juicy watermelons with their vibrant colors are in season
now and make a perfect healthy 4th of July choice. One big slice
of watermelon contains 12mg of Vitamin C (compared to an
apple’s 8mg) and beta carotene, both great antioxidants.
Watermelon also contains 170mg of potassium which helps
lower blood pressure, and fiber for a healthy digestive system.
(Read more about the
health benefits of watermelon.)

Watermelons are delightfully sweet but lower in sugar than
other fruits, 6.2g per 100g compared to 10.3g per 100g for
apples and 9g per 100g for oranges. Best of all, watermelons
have practically no fat and no cholesterol. Quench your thirst
with a fresh watermelon cooler but don’t just stick to drinks.
Watermelon, feta and mint salad is a tasty treat. Watermelon is
also well-suited to sorbets and other iced deserts.

4.
How to Make Healthy Burgers


























You’ll probably be reaching for the burgers as soon as you bring
out the grill. Burgers are a traditional 4th of July choice but a
typical generously sized burger in a bun will provide you with
426 calories and around 22g of fat.

The trick to making your burgers healthy are two words. Small
and lean.

If you serve burgers keep them small and use the leanest beef
you can find. When using lean beef you will need to increase the
moisture content of the patty for maximum taste so add an egg
white to the mix or some soft bread crumbs.

Lamb burgers are lower in fat than beef. Try using lamb meat,
and add shredded carrot or chopped salad onion in the mix for a
healthier alternative.

Turkey burgers are also a great alternative to beef for the same
reasons --they have less fat and fewer calories.

Veggie burgers are a great way to increase the vitamin and
mineral content of your 4th of July feast and you don’t need to
sacrifice taste if you make your own. Try a carrot and sesame
burger using chickpeas, onion, sesame, egg and wholegrain
breadcrumbs.

5.
Make Meat-Free Marvels

Why not cut back on the meat altogether and serve a selection
of fresh and tasty vegetable dishes from the grill?

Try super-colorful bell peppers stuffed with pine nuts, garlic,
cherry tomatoes and mozzarella.

Skewers of veggies like red onions, potatoes, bell pepper and
chunks of zucchini separated by a firm cheese such as haloumi
or paneer cheese are tasty and light in calories. Wrap sweet
potatoes smothered in thyme, olive oil and chili in foil and roast
on the grill for an accompaniment that’s high in fiber and Vitamin
C.  Or wrap mushrooms in foil with crushed garlic, salt and
pepper and some low-fat oil. For a spicy treat, rub hot grilled
corn with chili powder and lime juice.

6.
Healthy Deserts

Cakes and cookies, ice cream and cheesecake are all delicious
but there are lighter options.

Check the supermarket for light ice cream or go for a frozen
yogurt or sorbet. Fruit kebabs drizzled with honey or maple
syrup provide vitamins and that all-important sweet end to the
meal (though go easy on that maple syrup.) Try wrapping
bananas in tin foil and adding to the grill when the embers are
just glowing. After a few minutes you’ll unwrap the packages for
a delicious, sticky desert. Serve a big bowl of fruit salad with low-
fat yogurt sprinkled with chopped nuts.

7.
Homemade Chips and Dips

Let’s face it, scooping handfuls of chips into your mouth while
knocking back a beer isn’t going to do much for your health. But
there’s no denying chips are tempting.

Here's an alternative to potato chips. Try serving homemade
popcorn instead but keep the butter or salt down to a minimum.

You could also make your own baked chips and serve with a low-
fat tomato and herb salsa. Make the salsa in advance and store
in the fridge to lessen your workload on the 4th.

Cutting the amount of pre-packaged food you eat is a good way
to be healthier as you can control the amount of sugar, salt and
fat you consume.

8.
Mind the Packaging

Refined carbohydrates are one of the worst things to eat when
you are considering your health. A white bread bun for burgers
and hot dogs contains 120 calories, very little dietary fiber and
around 3g of refined sugar. It’s a bit of a waste seeing as the
bun is really just the padding. Try whole meal alternatives. They
no longer taste of cardboard and will still maintain that ‘no
plates’ barbecue rule. You could remove one side of the
sandwich and replace the bread with a mountain of healthy
toppings.

9.
Top Toppings

No one wants bland burgers or tasteless chicken but adding
sauces also increases the calorie and fat content of 4th of July
feasts. Make your meal healthier by using low-fat mustard or
mayo and a slice of fat-free cheese.

Skip the bacon (high in trans fats and salt) and choose
vegetables instead; try roasted onions, tomatoes (cherry
tomatoes or sun-dried), grilled peppers, leafy green lettuce,
mushrooms or avocado.

There are many quick and easy ways to give your grilled food a
healthier flavor. Try arugula and parmesan cheese, a cucumber
and yogurt sauce, or grilled pineapple.

10.
Fish for a Change  

Take a break from the meat by skewering some tasty seafood
onto kebabs. Choose firm pieces of fish such as plaice or cod, fat
prawns and lobster pieces. Make a zesty dressing with lime juice,
olive oil and mixed herbs and drizzle over the seafood before
grilling. Add chunks of lemon to separate the pieces of fish or go
crazy with the veggies. Zucchini, mushroom and bell peppers are
great for color as well as nutrients. For a Mediterranean flavor,
try grilling fresh sardines dressed in olive oil and oregano.
Salmon fillets are a great alternative to steak. Parcel fillets in foil,
add lemon slices and seasoning and cook on the grill.



Related:
Top 10 Foods That Fight Anemia / How Much Is Too
Much Salt? /Sugar-The Disease Connection / Are Diet Sodas Bad
for Your Health? / Ideal Breakfast for Diabetics / Ideal
Breakfast for Arthritis /Healing Foods Links /  Foods That Shrink
Your Waist / Foods That Lower Cholesterol/ VLDL-The Other
Cholesterol/ Foods That Reduce Blood Pressure

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Ty our Potato Cones. They're great starters for the 4th of July!
Serve them to keep hungry kids ---and grownups --happy while
you finish grilling! Click
here for recipe at bottom of clicked page.