Independence Day may call to mind images of fireworks and fun in the sun, but where would it all be without the food? It’s the perfect day for BBQs and traditional favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs. Still, when you want to celebrate in healthy patriotic style, use these healthy delicious finger foods, sides and dessert as your 4th of July recipes!
Healthy 4th of July Recipes
American Flag Veggie Tray
Kids of all ages (even the adult variety) will be happy to eat their veggies when those vegetables make up a colorful and nutrient packed version of Old Glory! Here’s how to make it:
On a rectangular tray, set a blue square container in the upper left corner. That will hold your dip and represent the blue portion of the flag. A blue sandwich container usually works perfectly. A home-made Greek yogurt-based lemon-dill dip tastes amazing without excessive amounts of fat or sugar. If you’re feeling truly adventurous, add a drop or two of blue food dye. Don’t be too heavy handed with the coloring, though, or everyone will be left with blue tongues and lips!
Fill the rest of the tray with horizontal rows of red and white veggies. Start with slices of red bell pepper. Then a row of cauliflower. Next, a row of radish halves (red-side up!), followed by cucumber slices (peeled). You can add a row of grape tomatoes, then white mushroom caps (halved). Keep going with the rows of veggies until you’ve filled the tray.
Garlic-Lime Grilled Corn
Love grilled corn on the 4th of July but don’t want all the butter? You don’t have to eat it plain! Use this easy garlic-lime sauce to bring your Freedom Day favorite to a new and delicious healthy level.
In a dish, add enough olive oil for all the corn you’re cooking. Count on about 2 teaspoons per ear of corn. Add one minced garlic clove per six cobs (more if you really like garlic) and add a dash of freshly cracked black pepper and lime zest. Whisk it together with a fork, then cover tightly and let it sit for several hours – ideally overnight, to truly infuse the oil with the garlicky flavor.
Grill your corn the way you enjoy it the most, then brush on the garlic lime sauce. Give each ear of healthy grilled corn a quick squeeze of fresh lime juice right before serving!
Refreshing Homemade Strawberry Sorbet
Just because you want a delicious homemade frozen strawberry treat, it doesn’t mean you’re required to eat a fat- and sugar-laden ice cream. You don’t even need an ice cream maker, for that matter.
This recipe makes 7 half-cup servings of deliciously refreshing and hydrating homemade strawberry sorbet. You can use either fresh or frozen strawberries – though fresh and very ripe strawberries will typically yield a sweeter vitamin- and antioxidant-dense treat.
Puree 6 cups of hulled fresh or frozen-thawed strawberries in a food processor until smooth. This is the equivalent to about 2 pounds of the fruit. Add ½ cup of water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract (try to find the pure type instead of the artificial flavoring. The difference is astounding).
If the strawberries are unavoidably tart, add two tablespoons of sugar. However, if your fruit is naturally sweet, the sugar is unnecessary and can be left out. Stir until combined and pour into a small saucepan. Heat on medium, stirring until the puree has heated through and has liquified slightly more. If you have added sugar, make sure it has completely dissolved into the warm mixture.
Take the pan off the heat and chill the mixture in the fridge for about four hours. After this point, if you have an ice cream maker, go ahead and use it according to the manufacturer’s directions. However, if you don’t have an ice cream maker, that’s no problem. Pour a shallow layer of the mixture into cake pans (or ice cube trays) and freeze until solid. This will take around 6 hours, depending on the depth of your mixture layers. Shallow layers freeze more quickly than deeper ones.
Once frozen, break the mixture into chunks and toss them into the food processor. Process them until smooth. You can serve it right away or freeze in an airtight container for up to a week. Let the mixture soften a little before you serve it. On a day like the 4th of July, that shouldn’t take long!
Morgan Medeiros is a certified nutritionist, holding a both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Morgan completed her undergraduate education at Central Washington University, and her graduate education at Northeastern University. During her time as a graduate student, Morgan focused her area of expertise in health education, weight management, and behavioral change. Morgan has experience working in areas of nutritional neuroscience and disease prevention, obesity prevention, and weight loss. Morgan also works in areas of nutritional analysis and menu labeling for restaurants, where she is able to creatively bridge her interest in food culture and health education. In her free time, Morgan enjoys traveling, reading, writing, running, and spending time with her family and friends (including- most importantly- her dog, Clyde).