When you think of the Fourth of July, do you think of barbeques, desserts, drinks, oh and fireworks too? If you answered yes, you’ll be like most Americans this Saturday. The Fourth of July is a national holiday celebrating America’s birthday, which calls for a day filled with fun and food with family and friends! However, like with all holidays, it can be easy to overdo it; this can ruin your plan for staying healthy and throw a serious wrench into your future diet plans. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make this 4th of July a bit healthier!
Let’s start with the most traditional barbeque food, hamburgers and hotdogs. Who doesn’t love the quick grilling time and jam packed taste that can feed the whole family? This year, try going for the healthier alternative. Ditch the traditional links and look for “\a dog without any fillers or preservatives, and pay close attention to those labels. The shorter the ingredient list, the better” (1). If you’re making hamburgers, look for a substitute for the traditional ground beef. Try lean ground turkey or even a veggie burger. Switch to whole-wheat buns for added fiber and nutrients. Or even use a whole-wheat tortilla, pita bread or piece of lettuce as your bun! Finally, throw some veggies on that thing!
Of course after the barbeque comes dessert. But does it always have to be sugary and bad for you? Nope! Natures own backyard offers some of the naturally sweetest and patriotic colored desserts. I’m talking about strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. So this year try serving them on a large platter with some added cool whip for the slight sugary taste. Or try decorating the top of your cake (that you definitely swapped out white flour for whole wheat flour or nut flour) to make something not so healthy, a little healthier,
Does all this food talk make you thirsty? If you’re not already chugging the water or fruit juices, it must be time for the mixed beverages. Surprisingly enough, there are a few tips that can lower the overall caloric intake of the day that you can use on The Fourth and really any night out. “Use fresh-squeezed juice, seltzer water, simple syrup, and whole fruits in place of flavored syrups to make your beverages healthier,” (2). When you play drink host, controlling the amount of high fructose consumed will help decrease your caloric intake for the day and keep you hydrated, especially in the Arizona heat.
Finally, what’s better than a little competitive spirit? Don’t take it light on the kids this year! Be in it to win it! There are plenty of outdoor games and activities that can ensure you burn more calories than you’re partaking in during this national holiday. Jump into a sand or water volleyball game, play basketball in the pool or toss the Frisbee. Whatever you’re doing, make it count! Especially in the desert heat, maybe chose more sports that are water friendly. Try a slip-and-slide down a hill or put together the most epic water balloon fight with all red, white and blue water balloons! Even if you chose not compete, try easy alternatives such as standing instead of sitting and opt to help carry the coolers to and from the car.
Whatever it is you chose to do this Fourth, be safe and have fun! Make sure to ultimately hydrate, wear your sunblock and enjoy the reason for the holiday!
1. Morin, Kate. “The Healthier Fourth of July Hot Dog.” Greatist. 3 July 2011. Web. 30 June 2015.
2. Cattel, Jeff. “How to Have the Ultimate Fourth of July.” Greatist. 24 June 2015. Web. 30 June 2015.