Fourth of July weekend is the perfect time to celebrate with friends and family while catching some sun. With all of the pasta salads, burgers and desserts it’s easy to get a little carried away. Don’t stress, there are a few ways you can make this holiday healthier- and it’s easier than you think.
Here are 5 tips to have an enjoyable 4th of July weekend:
1) Offer healthier appetizers. It’s common to have bowls of chips, bread and butter or dips out for your guests to munch on while the food is on the barbecue, but that doesn’t have to be your only option! You can offer healthier appetizer choices for your guests.
Try one of the following appetizers; your guests will love them!
- Homemade guacamole (avocados, salsa, lime juice) served with whole grain tortilla chips.
- Veggie platter with hummus
- Mixed nuts
- Tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella platter with balsamic vinegar
- Stuffed mushrooms
2) Use vibrant colors of fresh fruits and vegetables to create patriotic menu items for your guests. Make fruit kabobs using watermelon, strawberries, blueberries and bananas or create watermelon stars using a cookie cutter and top with cool whip and fresh blueberries. This will have your guests excited to eat these fruits and vegetables! They will be a great hit.
Other red, white and blue foods are raspberries, blackberries, red peppers, tomatoes, nonfat Geek or vanilla yogurt, whipped cream, marshmallows, fresh mozzarella balls and low fat cream cheese. Get creative with any number of these foods!
3) Use a smaller plate. On holidays, when food seems to be the focus, it’s easy to eat more than you need. The best way to avoid overeating is to use a smaller plate. If you use a large plate, you automatically fill the whole plate even if it’s more food than you need. By using a small plate, you will eat about 50% less without even noticing!
4) Be active at your barbecues. Barbecues are usually only about food, but with great weather expected, it’s also a great time to be active! Encourage your guests to play activities such as Frisbee, Badminton, swimming (if you have a pool), or a family game of whiffle ball. This will also help them work up an appetite.
Start these new traditions to help your family and friends stay active, even at holiday barbecues and I promise, your party will be the most fun party on the block!
5) Remember, eat and drink mindfully. The most important tip to enjoy the holiday and all of the delicious food that surrounds you is to eat (and drink) slowly and mindfully. Eat slowly to enjoy every bite and always listen to your satiety signals. It is a celebration and it’s okay to enjoy the foods you love. Remember, alcohol can sabotage your better judgment on all levels including your food choices. Enjoy a cocktail or two, or have a beer but always make sure you don’t go overboard (and don’t drink and drive!)
Stay mindful and have a safe and fun 4th of July.
Happy Independence Day America!
Your turn to take action: What healthy items will you have at your 4th of July barbecue? Let me know in the comments below!