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The Best and Worst Fourth of July Food and Drinks

The Best and Worst Fourth of July Food and Drinks | The Nutrition Twins | Expert Articles | 6/30/2014


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Although we tend to see fewer clients in the summer as most head out on summer vacations, things always seem to get busy the week before Independence Day. By this time, a month of summer-time fun is usually under way and our clients become fearful as they’ve felt their healthy habits start to slip a bit. They also know that the Fourth of July brings a few extra days of social engagements and not-so-healthy food, which could spell trouble for their waistlines. The great news is that there are a few ways to keep your holiday lean!

4th of July Top Do’s and Don’ts:


Although we are the first to be gung-ho for salads, generally, Fourth of July-type salads are usually more white and creamy rather than green, which could be trouble for your waistline.


Start your meals with green salads dressed with a splash of light vinaigrette or vegetable crudité to take the edge off hunger and avoid the heavy stuff. Or bring an edamame and corn salad. This is a fantastic way to get protein and fiber and fill up with delicious flavor. And if your hostess insists you bring a macaroni salad, make a delicious, yet much healthier one like this Creamy Cauliflower Mac n' Cheese.


Potato, macaroni, Jell-O or other creamy salads are packed with calories and artery-clogging fat rather than with fiber and nutrients. And often, even salads with greens are smothered in creamy, high-calorie dressings like Ranch—so the type of food where you could save calories suddenly can set you back several hundred calories more than you bargained for.

Salty snacks

Social events tend to last more than a few hours, so noshing opportunities are available for endless hours.


Go for the Frisbee or a good conversation and escape the snacks; there are plenty of other foods to choose. If you truly are hungry, try dipping some veggie crudité in a tablespoon or two of guacamole, hummus or salsa, or have fruit, veggies or shrimp skewers or corn on the cob. Or try one of these recipes:

Go Green Fruity Popsicles

Red, White & Blue Easy Fruit Crepes

Vanilla Almond Fruit Salad

Red, White & Blue Fruit Tarts

Crunchy Veggi-licious Chips


Nibble on chips, crackers and desserts like brownies and cookies; they just add excess calories without nutrients or lasting satisfaction.


The grill is typically the main event, but a few poor choices can really derail your healthy eating plan. However, grilling food can be healthy as it allows fat to drip off the meat rather than be absorbed back into it  as is the case with other cooking methods.


Choose chicken breast, shrimp skewers, watermelon and other fruit kabobs that taste great but keep the calories down.

Recipes to try:

Easy Skinny Turkey burger Sliders

Grilled Pineapple Turkey Burgers)

Baked Chicken Skewers—simply grill them rather than bake!


Hamburgers, ribs, sausage, wings and hotdogs can set you back hundreds calories and can pack in the artery-clogging fat. (If you must have one of these, the hamburger is your best bet—but just use have half the bun.)

Alcoholic beverages

Most people look forward to the cocktails, but choosing a few of the wrong ones can set you back several hundred, if not more than a thousand calories.


Go for one small glass (5 ounces) of wine or a light beer in a can or bottle (100 calories). And if you really stick to a 1-1/2 ounce serving, liquor can also be a good choice at 120 calories. Mix your cocktails with calorie-free seltzer, diet soda and light juices to slash calories. Or try this Grapefruit Sparkle Spritzer for 45 calories!


Avoid the fruity mixed drinks that you may think of sipping by the pool like piña coladas, daiquiris and other sugary drinks. These typically are loaded with sugar and the large ones easily pack in 500 calories or more.