Nutrition Notes: Make it a Healthy and Happy Fourth of July

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

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Hotdogs, barbecues and burgers? Oh my! According to the History Channel’s website, Americans consume 150 million hotdogs on the Fourth of July and 80% of people attend a barbecue, picnic or cookout. Although this patriotic holiday is all about friends, family and food, there is a way to still enjoy it without sacrificing your waistline. This year, try a few tips below to make your backyard BBQ both nutritious and delicious!

Use Whole Wheat Buns

Last week’s post discussed the importance of swapping out white bread for whole grains. Making the switch adds more fiber to your diet, which can help keep you full longer.

Load Up on Veggies

Try to fill half of your plate with veggies to avoid the overconsumption of calorie-laden options. Loading up on vegetables also fills you up with fiber, which can be helpful when determining if seconds or thirds are necessary. Here are two grill-friendly recipes featuring vegetables to try:

- Grilled Zucchini & Squash Stacks
- Grilled Vegetables in Easy Foil Packets

Portion Distortion

Plan ahead and pace yourself. Try to have a nutritious snack before arriving at the BBQ. If you do arrive hungry, temptation can settle in and oversized portions can look enticing. To help stop the impulse to eat everything in its tracks, try drinking a glass of water before filling your plate. Also, bring a fruit dessert to share! Fruit is naturally sweet and they also provide great nutritional benefits! Here are three recipes to try:

- Watermelon Cake
- Easy Frozen Fruit Desserts
- Red, White & Blue Fruit and Cheese Platter

Have a Fit Fourth

Incorporate physical activity into your BBQ this year. Try to organize a relay race, water balloon toss or even incorporate a group walk, swim or bike ride before the fireworks.

Making a few minor changes to the usual BBQ menu this year can help make a big impact on your health and your guests will thank you! Have a fun, safe and healthy holiday weekend!