Every 4th of July is a chance to embrace the freedom we have as Americans and our communal love for our country. It’s the perfect occasion to gather with family and friends, this year more than ever, and share hugs, laughs and good food. For many of us, the usual 4th of July fare includes hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad. While tasty, these food options are not the healthiest and can leave us feeling bloated and lethargic. Not the optimal condition for all those 4th of July games. Here are a few great and delicious swaps you can make for some of your 4th of July menu items.
The Better-For-You Hamburger
When we think hamburger, we think of the traditional beef patty. But as we know, red meat consumption should be limited to a couple of times a week. According to World Atlas[i], the average American consumes about 54 pounds of red meat per year. That’s a lot. And, it’s no secret that too much red meat in one’s diet can lead to certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The truth is, there are so many options that provide as much flavor as the traditional American burger. The toppings can also pack a powerful taste punch and can boost your burger into the realm of delectability.
So instead of a beef patty, opt instead for a lean chicken breast topped with the traditional lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Like to add bacon to your burger? Choose turkey bacon instead. Still full of flavor but a healthier option. Craving some cheese? Opt for a slice of mozzarella instead of a slice of processed American cheese. It’s tasty and has a great melting quality.
The Healthy Hot Dog That Actually Tastes Good
Eating hot dogs is as traditional as attending a baseball game in the summer but we all know they are not a healthy choice as they are packed with sodium, nitrates and nitrites, which have been shown to have a carcinogenic effect[ii] and are often used as additives in cured meats. Ideally, if you must have a beef wiener, choose one that is organic and uncured. Another tasty option is a turkey wiener. Grilled to perfection on the barbecue and dressed with your favorite toppings, it can be just as satisfying as a beef wiener.
Yummy Mock Potato Salad
Hands up if you’re a fan of potato salad. Guilty as charged. Is it the creaminess, the crunchy bits, the absolute decadence? All of the above I’d say. And, to the question, “Do you ever have seconds?” I sheepishly raise my hand. We know that the traditional potato salad’s creaminess and luscious goodness is not really good for us though, right? Well, believe or not, the swap we are about to share is almost too good to be true. Ready? Instead of potatoes use cauliflower. Hear me out here because it’s so delectable, it’ll become your family’s favorite.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 large or 2 small cauliflower heads chopped into bite-sized pieces
3/4 cup dill pickles, finely chopped
¼ cup capers (optional)
½ red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
3 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp of white balsamic, apple cider or plain white vinegar
1/2 cup 2% fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat or vegan mayo
1 tsp salt
Ground black pepper to taste
- In a large pot, add cauliflower pieces and eggs. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook on low for 5 minutes.
- While cauliflower and eggs are cooking, chop pickles, red onion and dill. Add to a large bowl along with capers (if using), mustard, vinegar, yogurt, mayo. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well. and set aside.
- Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl with ice-cold water. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Drain cauliflower and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Peel and chop the eggs. Add eggs and cauliflower to the bowl.
- Gently stir and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Can be stored in fridge for up to 3 days.
Need to Cool Down?
It’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re outside, playing under the sun, in often record-breaking heat. Despite what we may think, sodas and alcohol do little to quench our thirst. Opt instead for flavored mineral water which you can now find in myriad of flavors. You also can’t go wrong with plain old H2O but you can boost its flavor with the addition of lemon or orange slices, berries or even mint or basil. Another good-for-you thirst quencher? Watermelon slices. A summertime staple that pleases kids and grown-ups alike.
Time for Games
Now that you’ve made some healthier food and drink choices during your Independence Day get-together, you’ll feel energized and up for some fun family-friendly games. Why not organize an outdoor scavenger hunt. It’ll get everyone moving and will make for a whole lot of fun. A patriotic-themed game of I Spy is a sure-fire hit too. Strategically place red, white and blue items in your backyard (or indoors if it’s rainy). The first family member or friend who collects the most items, wins. A potato-sack race with a patriotic twist is also a fun option. Set up a race with several stations between the start and finish lines. At each station, the participant must pick up a small American flag. The winner is the one who arrives at the finish line with the most flags.
We at Life Sprout Bioceuticals want to take this opportunity to wish you and yours the very best 4th of July. Enjoy the precious time spent with your family and friends and we encourage you to make healthy choices along the way so that you’ll be able to celebrate with them for many years to come.