Simple of 4th of July Recipe Swap Outs 

With 4th of July coming up, you’re probably already stocking your kitchen with the all-American classics like hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad and plenty of red, white and blue cupcakes. You want to join in on the festivities but do you really want to sacrifice your healthy lifestyle for a meal that you might regret? Not everyone has the willpower it takes to say no to tasty temptations, and you shouldn’t have to! Just keep in mind your goal is to nourish your body with healthy, nutrient-filled foods, and not fill up on sugary drinks and calorific snacks that will only slow you down. If you’re planning your own celebration or attending one, you can still enjoy the traditional dishes you’ve been craving if you take control of surroundings with a few of these simple and healthy recipe substitutions!

Chips & Dip Hummus & Veggies

Whatever you do, DON’T touch the chips & dip! It’s a very slippery slope after that first bite and, to avoid even risking it, you should opt for a healthier and just as flavorful alternative: homemade hummus and veggies. Making hummus at home doesn’t have to be intimidating, some recipes have as little as seven ingredients and can take only five minutes to makeAll it takes are chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, cumin and a side of your favorite veggies like carrots and cucumbers. If you do have to reach for the chips and dip, just remember to eat mindfully and not overdo it! 

Coleslaw with Mayonnaise Greek Yogurt

As creamy and indulgent as mayonnaise and sour cream might be, you’re adding 1,000 to 2,000 calories with just one cup of each to what would otherwise be a healthy, fiber-filled vegetable side dish! Switch out the traditional dressing for coleslaw with greek yogurt, vinegar, salt, and pepper. This is a great alternative because you’ll still end up with a creamy and tangy coleslaw but you’ll also get the added benefit of a protein and calcium kick from the yogurt. Try it out without letting your guests know you made this sneaky swap and see if they even notice the difference! 

Baked Beans Bean Salad

What sounds better, baked beans scooped out of a can or a colorful pinto, black and red bean mix with avocado and corn? It may not be as traditional but this bright, fun dish will definitely look better laid out on your 4th of July spread. Beans are so healthy and versatile, why miss out on the chance to include three different kinds that all have their own health benefits! They’re also packed with fiber and antioxidants and can reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Cheese Burgers with Healthy Toppings 

Skip the cheese on your burger and opt for something just as tasty but much more nutrient dense! Try smashed avocado instead, they’re are full of healthy fats and vitamins.  You can also substitute condiments like ketchup and mustard for pesto sauce. Pick up a freshly made batch at your local farmers market or make your own, you only need basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil. If you really want to make it a health-conscious hamburger, ditch the bun and substitute it for a lettuce wrap. You can even get this option at most restaurants too, just ask for your burger “protein-style”! 

Bottled Homemade Ice Tea

Store bought ice tea can have anywhere from 30g to 50g of sugar per bottle. You can make your own sugar-free tea at home and it’ll cost much less than stocking up on bottles of Snapple or Arizona Iced Tea from the store. Brew your own hot water at home and steep 3 to 5 bags of your preferred tea and keep it in the fridge with ice. Or if it’s hot day out, use the power of the sun to make your tea! Just set out a pitcher with 5 to 8 tea bags somewhere with direct sunlight. The amount of time it takes for your tea to steep in the sun can vary, but on average it should only take 2 to 3 hours. Place in the fridge afterward with ice and you have a healthy, sugar-free drink to help you cool off during your 4th of July celebration. 

Ice Cream Popsicles 

If you really want to impress your family and friends and stay on track with your healthy lifestyle, you can make your own delicious popsicles for dessert and it’s much easier than you might think! You can find popsicle molds on Amazon or your nearest Target, and you can make fruit popsicles with as little as two ingredients: coconut milk and your choice of your favorite frozen fruit. Just blend together (add honey for extra sweetness!), pour into the molds and let them freeze overnight. This will offer a sweet alternative to traditional treats and you’ll get to enjoy it guilt-free. 

The best trick to really staying healthy and feeling good this 4th of July is sticking to REAL foods! Avoid buying anything prepackaged or in a can, and stick to the basics to make a delicious, home cooked meal that your friends and family will love, and most importantly your HEALTH will appreciate. 

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Bret Scher, MD FACC

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