The July 4th Holiday is usually associated with sun, fun, and great food. But for those of us looking to keep a healthy diet during the celebrations, it can be a tough challenge. Instead of cooking up traditional, and often unhealthy staples like hamburgers, hot dogs and mayo-based salads, try introducing healthier alternatives during your cookout this year.
Here are some ideas for great dishes with surprising health benefits.
Grilled Salmon Skewers
In lieu of traditional meats such as steak or chicken, try adding highly nutritious salmon to your skewers. Salmon is a healthier protein that provides critical omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel function. Additionally, it is a leaner option than other meats, making it a healthier option. Ensure you seek out sustainably fished wild salmon for the best benefits, and this will be a great addition to your holiday meal.
Cucumber Tomato Salad
While potato salad is often a barbecue staple, it tends to be heavy and unhealthy. This year, try adding a cucumber tomato salad to your meal instead. Not only is it refreshing and hydrating, cucumber is high in calcium and vitamin K, contributing to good bone health. Meanwhile, tomatoes are rich in vitamins and antioxidants such as lycopene, helping bolster health and decreasing the risk of certain cancers. This delicious, fresh dish will undoubtedly be a hit.
Instead of a traditional dip, try using hummus as an appetizer. This nutrient-dense alternative provides more dietary fiber and protein than most dips thanks to its garbanzo base. Furthermore, it is often lower in sodium and sugar than many of its processed peers. Finally, it goes great with any number of healthy items such as vegetables or whole wheat pita bread.
Greek Yogurt Parfait
Everyone loves ice cream in the summer! Unfortunately, it also comes with a hefty dietary price tag. Instead, replace your ice cream with a Greek yogurt with blueberries for a more nutritious and enjoyable dessert. Greek yogurt is high in protein (making it filling) and boasts less sugar, dairy, and sodium than normal yogurt. Blueberries are filled with fiber, helping improve digestion, gastrointestinal health, and cholesterol. They also provide a multitude of anthocyanins, antioxidants that help to prevent aging and cell damage. Most importantly, Greek yogurt with blueberries is a tasty, satisfying treat.
These healthy, scrumptious dishes will undoubtedly make for an unforgettable and enjoyable holiday. Don’t let the stress of the holidays detract from your healthy lifestyle! Have a happy July 4th that will be memorable for you and your health.