Fireworks, parades, music, family and friends, and summer weather make up the ambiance of the 4th of July. Food is also at the forefront of the All-American celebration. Classic picnic favorites, such as juicy hamburgers, grilled chicken, delicious coleslaws and potato salads, and fresh fruit desserts, are often found at 4th of July parties. Are you getting hungry yet? With the help of the USDA’s new MyPlate icon and coordinating messages, you can make your 4th of July plate a healthy plate.
Making your plate half fruits and vegetables is easy with the abundant amount of fruits and vegetables available during the summer. If you’re hosting a cookout, you can try grilling broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, onions, or corn on the cob. Add sliced watermelon or a fruit salad with cantaloupe, strawberries and blackberries to the menu for a refreshing snack. With some smart shopping it’s possible to fit fruits and vegetables into any budget.
When picking out your protein food for the party, start by picking a lean protein food. For a burger, choose ground beef that is at least 90% lean or try a chicken or vegetarian burger with whole-wheat sandwich buns. Grilled seafood, such as salmon, or a chickpea salad are also great ideas to help you get the nutrients you need while keeping the calorie and fat content low. Get the flavor you crave but in a smaller portion by adding extra spices and herbs.
For a festive 4th of July dessert, you can make a fruit and yogurt parfait with alternating layers of low-fat or fat-free yogurt, blueberries, and raspberries or strawberries. Add in some whole-grain granola for an extra crunch! You can check out our recipe page for more tasty ideas.
With some simple switches and/or additions to your 4th of July celebration, you can make the holiday fun and healthy.
Snap a picture of your 4th of July plate and send it to us via Twitter using the hashtag #MyPlate. We’d love to see what you come up with!