The 4th of July is the most important day of the summer. It’s our chance to celebrate the nation’s birthday with BBQs, pool parties, fireworks, and great food.
The good news is that you can celebrate your country and your health at the same time. With the right recipes, 4th of July treats can be just as delicious as they are nutritious.
Thankfully, we have ten healthy ideas that will be the talk of any party and keep you on top of your health and fitness goals.
1. Red, White, and Blueberry Lemonade
To really make this drink festive, use a star-shaped cookie cutter for the apple pieces. This patriotic, fresh-squeezed lemonade will give you flavor and quench your thirst without too much sugar.
1 can frozen white grape juice concentrate
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 gallon cold water
1 pint blueberries
1 pint strawberries, halved
In a pitcher, combine the water, grape juice concentrate, and lemon juice. Cut your apple pieces into star shapes (or regular chunks if you prefer) and add to the lemonade. Add all remaining fruit and stir well.
2. Strawberry and Avocado Salad
Salads are the perfect summer food because they are light and full of nutrition. Add some red, white, and blue foods to truly entertain your guests.
This salad delivers more than one superfood for your health. Berries are powerful antioxidants that help reduce occasional oxidative stress, and avocado is full of heart-healthy fats.
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
4 cups arugula
½ cup sliced strawberries
⅓ cup sliced avocado
⅓ cup blueberries or blackberries
½ ounce goat cheese
For the dressing:
½ cup cut strawberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Blend the dressing ingredients in a food processor. In a large salad bowl, combine the salad ingredients and toss well. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again, making sure everything is evenly covered.
3. Strawberry, Basil, and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
This will be your ultimate appetizer with its combination of sweet and tangy tastes and a mouthful of nutrition with every bite.
1 baguette (French, sourdough, or whole wheat), sliced into ¾-inch thick pieces
4 ounces goat cheese
1 pint sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 400°F and drizzle olive oil over each bread slice and add a pinch of salt. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes. In a bowl, stir your strawberries and vinegar together and let sit for 10 minutes. Spread goat cheese onto each piece of toasted bread, sprinkle with basil, and add the balsamic strawberry topping to each one.
4. Patriotic Watermelon and Feta Flag
Tempt your guests with a colorful salute to the flag and a unique display of good food. Berries, watermelon, and cheese fit in with the patriotic theme and offer numerous health benefits to all.
Blueberries help promote antioxidant capacity in the body, cheese is packed full of protein, and watermelon helps keep you hydrated and contains several essential vitamins and minerals.
1 pint fresh blueberries
5 cups cubed watermelon
One 8-ounce package of feta cheese, cut into cubes
On a rectangular tray, place blueberries in a corner to represent the stars. For the stripes of the flag, arrange alternating rows of cubed watermelon and cubed feta.
5. Red, White, and Blue Dinner Salad
If you decide to keep things light and serve a salad as your main course instead of firing up the BBQ, this salad is just what you and your guests will be craving.
Romaine lettuce (chopped)
1-2 pounds strawberries, cut into quarters
Sliced, grilled chicken breasts (approximately 1 breast per person)
Crumbled blue cheese
Your favorite salad dressing
Place the lettuce on a plate and top with strawberries and grilled chicken breast slices. Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles and drizzle with your favorite dressing.
6. Grilled Portabello Burgers
Who said you can’t have burgers and be healthy at the same time? A grilled Portabello burger is not just for your vegetarian guests — it’s a healthy and tasty treat for all. Mushrooms are great and have so much taste packed into every bite that even the meat-eaters will be coming back for more.
4 large Portabello mushrooms
2 tablespoons of olive oil
8 pieces of sourdough bread
4 slices of provolone cheese
1 large roasted red pepper, julienne style
1 cup of buckwheat sprouts
Spread olive oil evenly across your mushroom caps. On medium heat, grill each side of the mushrooms for 5 minutes. Before removing from the heat, add a slice of provolone to each one and let it slightly melt. Place the bread on the grill for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. You can then assemble your burger using bread, mushroom, roasted red peppers, sprouts, and balsamic reduction.
7. Turkey Veggie Burger
Using turkey meat instead of beef doesn’t deny any flavor, and you get some additional health benefits. Turkey is leaner meat and does not contain as much saturated fat as red meat. This leaner protein helps support healthy cholesterol levels and heart health.
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated zucchini
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon black pepper
Kosher salt to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 slices whole grain artisan bread
6 romaine heart lettuce leafs
1 medium tomato, sliced
Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl and shape the mix into six patties. You can cook the patties however you like: using a grill, skillet, or broiler. Be sure you cook until there is no longer any pink in the middle. Brush olive oil onto your bread slices and cook in a skillet until golden brown. Add your favorite condiments and add the burger on top.
8. Grilled Chicken With Berry Salsa
This recipe works well with chicken as well as fish. The antioxidant-packed berry salsa will help reduce typical oxidative stress, and the chicken or fish can give you all the protein you need. Fish is also full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart function, brain health, and healthy aging.
4 (6 ounces) chicken breasts or fish filets
Olive oil (for grilling the meat)
Salt and pepper
Prepared couscous (optional for serving)
Red & Blue (berry)
½ cup chopped fresh blueberries
½ cup fresh whole blueberries
½ red bell pepper, diced
¼ red onion, diced
3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Stir all the salsa ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. Lightly brush the chicken or fish with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill until fully cooked. Top with the already prepared salsa and serve with couscous.
9. Clean-Eating Blueberry Pie
You can have your dessert and eat it too, especially when it is nutritious. As the ultimate summer pie, this clean-eating blueberry treat incorporates healthy ingredients to give you taste and nutrition.
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup oat flour
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
½ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup coconut oil, cold (optional, pure unsalted butter)
Ice cold water
6 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
Juice of one lemon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
Make your crust by mixing the oat flour, wheat flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl. Add the coconut oil and work through with your hands. Add ice water slowly until a dough is formed. Make your filling by mixing every ingredient except for the egg. Divide the crust dough in half, roll one half out flat, and then place in a pie pan. Add your filling. Roll out the rest of the dough to make a flat pie cover, or cut into strips to lie across the fruit filling. Brush the dough with the beaten egg and bake for 45 minutes at 400°F.
10. Red, White, and Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles
Perfect for adults and kids, this nutritious frozen treat is a healthy alternative to sugary ice creams and processed baked goods.
1 heaping cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt
Blend the raspberries until smooth and set aside. Repeat with the blueberries. To layer the popsicles, start with blueberries in the bottom of the mold and place in the freezer until firm. Then add a layer of yogurt for the next stripe and add the popsicle sticks. Return to the freezer until firm. Next will be the raspberry stripe, and you will repeat this pattern until the mold is full. Once they are completely frozen, you can un-mold them, but this should not be done until you are ready to serve.
Summer parties and 4th of July celebrations can be fun, tasty, and nutritious. You no longer have to sacrifice taste for health, and nutritious food doesn’t have to be bland and boring. These patriotic recipes will catch more eyes than the firework display and will keep your health goals on track.