7 Tips to Make Your July 4th Celebration Fun & Healthier!

June 26, 2012

Independence Day means fireworks, parades, and of course – BBQs.  Usually you will see a lot of artificially colored red, white and blue items on July 4th, but we do our best to avoid food dyes.  This year for your Independence Day celebration, why not think beyond red, white and blue and go for a full rainbow?  Here are 7 ways to boost the fun & (natural) colors on your table: 

  1. Serve a rainbow of veggies & dips!  Rather than just mindlessly munching on unhealthy appetizers, kids and adults alike might just mindlessly munch on some healthy veggies instead.  You can put out a roasted red pepper hummus dip, or whip up a yummy homemade Ranch dip (or if you buy one, just read the label to make sure it has no MSG).

    Homemade Ranchy Dill Dip:

    • 1/3 cup Greek style plain unsweetened yogurt
    • 1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
    • 3 tablespoons Grapeseed Veganese
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried), and/or add chives or other fresh herbs
    • Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

    Directions:  In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients. Add salt & pepper to taste.  Put in refrigerator to chill until ready to serve.

  2. Put out healthier chip options too – like popchips, they are popped, not fried, and unlike many other brands, they have no artificial colors.  Their BBQ flavor is always a bit hit at BBQs.  If you want to serve red, white and blue colored corn chips, try Liberty Chips from R.W Garcia.  Liberty chips are all natural, the red color comes from beets and the blue is from blue corn; they are also non-GMO and gluten free.  Serve them with salsa and guacamole – both are healthy & colorful dip options!
  3. You might not even realize that dyes can be lurking in things like barbeque sauce.  You can make your own marinades and BBQ sauces, or if you don’t have the time for that – just read the labels to find the brands without artificial colors or high fructose corn syrup. Choose healthier brands like Annie’s Naturals Organics Smokey Maple or if you want a little spicier, go for Annie’s Hot Chipotle sauce.
  4. Instead of sodas filled with high fructose corn syrup, we like to put out a bunch of orange, lemon and limes, and let kids make their own “fruit fizzies.” Kids can squeeze their own citrus juice, add in some sparkling water, and just a touch of organic clear Natures Agave.  Healthier than sodas, and more fun too.  If you don’t want to make your own, you can choose healthier drink options like Izze – made with all natural fruit juices with no added sugars or colors, their Izzesque style has only 50 calories per serving!
  5. We like to make fruit skewers at parties, because anything you put on a stick is more fun.  Decorate each stick with melon balls, strawberries, grapes and pineapples.  Put the sticks into a half a watermelon, and it doubles as a beautiful edible centerpiece.  But don’t expect the centerpiece to last for long, these always go like hot cakes.  Check out this video for how to make the fruit skewers a little fancier using a fondant cutter!
  6. What kid doesn’t like a snow cone?  They are fun and refreshing, but we avoid them because they are usually just full of artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup.  But you can actually make a healthier Snow cone at home in a snap – with one of these cool snow cone makers.  And instead of pouring the usual sticky syrup with dyes into the shaved ice, just use fruit juice, or make your own syrup with pureed fruit & agave, with a touch of lemon (and a tiny pinch of sea salt).  Watch this video to see how to make a blueberry puree.  Still yummy & refreshing & fun, but all natural.  The adults could even borrow the snow cone maker after the kids go to bed, I bet this organic margarita recipe would work great!
  7. Rather than the artificially colored cupcakes & cookies – make a flag cake decorated with raspberries or strawberries & blueberries.  Fun, festive and full of antioxidants instead of artificial dyes.  This is a good one for the kids to help with, and also will make your table look really festive.  Or instead of a cake, brownies are always a hit at parties, try these Best Black Bean Brownies, they are gluten free and delicious (and yes, made with black beans!).

Have a happy and safe 4th of July Celebration!

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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