If you’re eating well most of the time, a holiday of indulgent eating now and then certainly won’t kill you.
However, there are some easy ways to healthify your menu which won’t leave you feeling deprived.
1. Switch to whole wheat.
Make the switch, if you haven’t already! Companies have really transformed whole wheat products from dry and bland to fluffy and soft.
2. Fill half your plate with veggies.
This rule applies to healthy every day eating, and it can also apply to holidays. Fill up on large salads with just a little of an oil-based dressing, grill up some veggies or have a raw veggie plate with hummus. Eating vegetables with your meal will leave you feeling more satisfied than going without.
3. Choose your meats wisely.
If your holiday isn’t complete without a hot dog or a hamburger, there are some healthier options out there to choose from.
Applegate makes a pretty decent dog. With normal ingredients, only 1 gram of saturated fat, 50 calories and 260mg sodium per link, this one fits all the criteria for a healthier cookout.
If beef hotdogs are what you’re after, applegate makes a more decent version of these as well. They do have more sodium at 360mg a link and more saturated fat at 3g a link, but if you keep it to one, this would be your healthier choice. Especially if you pair it with a whole wheat hot dog bun. 😉
Bison tends to be leaner than most hamburg meats, and the flavor is very comparable. It does cook faster though, so be sure to lessen the grilling time. Or choose 90-93% lean hamburger meat and top with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and a little of your favorite condiment.
If you’re feeling adventurous, give grilled tofu with bbq sauce a try. Or wild caught salmon with a bit of soy sauce and brown sugar. You might surprise your tastebuds.
4. Don’t over-grill.
The charcoal that some people love the flavor of on grilled meats is unfortunately linked to increased cancer risks. Eeps! Try not to overdo the cooking time to avoid this build-up and enjoy your cookout safely.
5. Go easy on the sides.
Things like potato salad, baked beans with pork, and chips can add up fast. One big spoonful of potato salad could easily bring you over 200 calories and 10 grams of fat. Enjoy your favorite foods but limit the amount of them that you eat. Keeping 1/2 your plate for veggies, 1/4 for protein, and 1/4 for those fun extras is a good game plan.
If you’re eating over someone else’s house, offer to bring a side that is both tasty and healthy. Baked vegetarian beans, a tossed salad with strawberries and feta cheese, or a dish of raw veggies and hummus are some good options!
6. Focus on what matters.
Family is what the holidays are really about. Enjoy your food but keep the focus on what really counts! Mingle, make memories, keep it simple, have fun!
What will you be making for the July 4th holiday?