Have a healthy Fourth of July

By Mina Radman • Published: July 4th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Fourth of July calls for outdoor celebrations, full of family, friends and food. However, as much as we love to celebrate America’s birthday, our waistlines might not enjoy it. The common festivities feature food and drinks that are high in calories, sugar and fat, like hot dogs, hamburgers and beer.

But think about this: You can celebrate the day of red, white and blue and enjoy the outdoor cooking without breaking the caloric bank … if you substitute ingredients.

To make hamburgers and hot dogs healthier, look for meat made with lean ground beef — at least 90 percent lean. If your family and friends can’t taste the difference, opt out of meat entirely and use black bean or veggie burgers.

Make your own tortilla chips and dips instead of purchasing prepackaged ones. Buy tortilla or pita bread, cut it into pieces and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crispy. Recipes for healthier guacamole, queso and salsa can be found with a quick Google search. Replace sour cream with plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt to save on calories and fat.

Three sugary margaritas can provide you with more calories than you should consume in an entire day, so pace yourself. Opt for a bottle of light beer or a glass of wine and drink lots of water. For the kids, replace sugary fruit punch with pitchers of ice water garnished with fresh fruit.

Another easy tip? Use smaller plates. Even if you fill up the plate, you’ll eat less food overall. Begin your meal by noshing on fruits and veggies, too, because you’ll feel fuller sooner and won’t be as tempted to grab that second burger or plate of fries.

Making a few little changes will help make your Fourth of July celebration happy and regret-free.