Independence Day is all about the four Fs: food, friends, family and, of course, fireworks. But for those who are watching their weight, a traditional Fourth of July barbecue can feel like amber waves of culinary temptation. Here are four ways you can celebrate America’s birthday while staying loyal to your health goals.
First, fend off the threat of overeating by having a healthy snack before the festivities begin. Eating something nutritious like an apple with peanut butter or carrot sticks with hummus can keep you feeling full longer so you aren’t as tempted by all the yummy — and fattening — foods at the barbecue.
Next, be picky about your bread when building your hamburger or hot dog platter. Choose whole-wheat buns if available or, better yet, go bun-less. Eating carbohydrates from breads, even wheat bread, can spike your insulin, which makes your body store extra fat. Try your burger on a bed of lettuce instead.
If you keep the bun, then survey the rest of the buffet table before loading your plate. Look for healthier options to balance out the carbs. Pick a pickle instead of a bunch of fries or chips. Don’t dive head-first into the mountain of homemade potato salad.
Finally, be patriotic with your dessert. Offer to bring a fruit salad full of strawberries, blueberries and watermelon to the party. The fruit will satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you hydrated in the hot July sun. It’s a great way to enjoy the day without piling on all the unnecessary sugar.
Celebrate this Independence Day with loved ones while making healthy food choices. You’ll enjoy the Fourth without feeling guilty on the fifth.