Celebrating the 4th of July usually means gathering with family and friends to enjoy the beautiful summer weather, watch fireworks, and feast on delicious foods. However, fattening and sugary additions to your 4th of July celebrations can derail you from your summer diet goals. Consider these healthy 4th of July food alternatives to celebrate the holiday this year

Staying Hydrated

At the start of the summer, the 4th of July is usually going to be a warm day. It is crucial to drink plenty of water in order to combat the symptoms of dehydration and keep your energy up for the day ahead. If plain water isn’t your thing, consider infusing large pitchers of water the night before. Some great options for infusing water include this berry, peach, and coconut water recipe which incorporates fresh peaches, blueberries, and coconut water to make a delicious alternative to plain old water.

If lemonade is your seasonal drink of choice, consider drinking lemon water instead. Lemon water aids in digestion, helps to flush toxins out of the body, and gives you a boost of vitamin C without all the added sugar. Drinking plenty of flavorful water will keep you hydrated, and steer you away from sugar laden drinks like soda and sweet tea.

Healthy Appetizers 

Everyone will want to snack throughout the day before the barbecue, so opt for healthy snacks. Consider making a delicious crab dip, which is packed with protein and can be low in fat if made with reduced fat cream cheese and Greek yogurt. Try these tomato mozzarella skewers with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and you have a guilt-free, flavorful snack.

You can also serve pita chips, veggies, and hummus instead of potato chips and ranch dip, which is a great way to get your daily intake of fruits and veggies while snacking. The key is to put out food that is delicious and healthy, and keep your guests satisfied until the main event.

The Main Event

July 4th cookouts typically feature the main event: barbecued favorites. Hot dogs, burgers, and ribs tend to have a high amount of calories. If you decide to cook any of these favorites make sure they are fresh and not prepackaged. This will help reduce your sodium intake.

You can also switch it up by grilling chicken as a healthy alternative to beef. If you are still craving a burger, check out this recipe for an amazing grilled turkey burger, which has far less fat than traditional beef burgers.

Healthy Sides

Another favorite food at 4th of July holiday celebrations is always the side dishes. Potato salad can quickly accumulate calories, though. Consider this recipe for red, white, and blue potato salad that’s packed with flavor minus all the calories added from the mayonnaise in traditional potato salad.

There are also great ways to grill veggies to go with your chicken or turkey burgers. This recipe for grilled ratatouille uses great summer produce like zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, peppers, and onions to make a flavorful and fun side dish.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Just because you are sticking to a healthy diet this summer doesn’t mean there isn’t room to satisfy your sweet tooth. Make these patriotic popsicles the night before to offer you and your guests a cold, refreshing treat with the added benefits of fresh fruit.

Fresh fruit salads can also hit the spot! The natural sweetness of fresh fruit will satisfy your cravings and give you all the benefits of antioxidants. Watermelon is full of vitamins A and C, potassium, and is made largely of water which will keep you hydrated. You can also do a great spin on a banana split minus the ice cream with these banana split kebabs, which the kids will just love.

Sticking to a healthy diet is always hard to do around the holidays. Try these healthy food alternatives this 4th of July to make delicious, satisfying food that everyone will enjoy.

Sources: 

http://www.infusedwaters.com/making-infused-waters-for-parties-events

http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-drinks/8-infused-water-recipes-upgrade-your-h2o

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/truth-lemon-water/story?id=30313519

http://theenchantedcook.blogspot.com/2011/05/tomato-mozzarella-skewers.html

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_grilled_chicken_recipes_bbq_chicken_recipes

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/tasty-turkey-burgers

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/red_white_blue_potato_salad.html

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cooking-style/grilling-recipes/top-10-grilled-vegetable-recipes#1

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/03/grilled-ratatouille-recipe.html

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/red_white_blue_popsicles.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=31

http://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/g1434/healthy-july-fourth-desserts/?slide=2