Does anything signify summer more than a holiday barbecue? Fourth of July is the perfect occasion to fire up the grill and savor the succulent delights of an old-fashioned barbecue with family and friends. Now you could do the traditional hamburgers, hot dogs on white buns, potato chips and roasted marshmallows spread”¦.But the fact that you’re reading this shows that you’re seeking healthy choices! And that’s just what we’re offering here with this fabulously flavored feast for your Fourth of July barbecue:
- Start off with a raw vegetable platter in red, white and blue. Use sliced tomatoes and radishes for the red rectangle; sliced, peeled raw turnips, cauliflower and jicama for the white rectangle, and lightly steamed purple cabbage for the blue section. For dip options, mix plain Greek yogurt or soy yogurt with herbs in one bowl and offer another bowl with zero-calorie Walden Farms mayonnaise or dip in another bowl.
- Make a fabulous fruit salad for your guests as well. Watermelon, cantaloupe, sliced pears, apples, peaches, nectarines: Summer fruit is dynamite (no pun intended!) at a Fourth of July barbecue. Top with something different: try Diced Woodstock Farms Organic Black Mission Figs with Let’s Do Organic Coconut Finely Shredded Flakes.
- What’s to drink? Bypass those standard sugary cans of soda. Instead, offer assorted teas, bottled water and sugar-free soda made with stevia. Our favorites include Steaz Green Tea Zero Calorie Iced Teaz in flavors like raspberry and Dr. Zevia diet soda.
- Now for the main course. Consider options, such as tofu hot dogs, skinless grilled chicken breasts and a bean salad made of assorted beans. High in both protein and fiber, beans will please vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike when you combine tasty choices such as Eden Foods Organic Black Beans, Arrowhead Mills Organic Adzuki Beans and Bob’s Red Mill Red Kidney Beans. Top with a flavorful, healthy salad dressing such as Bragg Organic Vinaigrette Healthy Salad Dressing.
- Did someone say potato chips? If you’re craving crunch, we applaud because we’ve got a great assortment to please your palate! What could be better for a barbecue than barbecue-flavored Popchips, for example ““ unless, of course, it’s Popchips in other flavors like sour cream and onion! Another perfect choice: Beanitos Black Bean Chips Chipotle BBQ. And for those who love corn chips, we recommend Guiltless Gourmet Unsalted Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips.
- For dessert, offer a platter of assorted cookies for munching, such as Jennies Coconut Macaroons and gluten-free Pamela’s Products cookies in flavors like lemon shortbread.
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com,Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.