A big part of living the fitness lifestyle is staying dedicated to eating right each day (well, most days…) so that you get the best results out of your workout regimen.
And then summer rolls around. Somehow, you’ve offered to host the annual Fourth of July cookout.
You find yourself browsing the aisles at the local warehouse food store staring at super-sized containers of fatty options. Creamy pasta salads. Cheese and crackers. S’mores. Sausages and hot dogs. Sugary sodas. Unnaturally orange nacho-powdery triangular-shaped chips. Queso dips.
Not this year.
This year, you can have the most delicious and gorgeous Fourth of July cookout ever, still keep to your healthy eating plan, and make your guests believe you’ve trained with Ms. Stewart herself.
Make your theme “Fresh Fourth of July Garden Party”
Set up your backyard like the scene from a lifestyle magazine. White cotton tablecloths on the tables. Get some rustic metal containers for serving giant, leafy salads and juicy watermelon slices. String some white lights on your porch and around your yard. Put mason jars of fresh white flowers on all the tables, accented by red, white and blue pinwheels and mini flags.
Hydrate in Style
Purchase one of those lovely, large clear glass drink dispensers with a spout and serve up some lemon and rosemary infused water. Rosemary has anti-inflammatory properties and is commonly prescribed to aid and improve overall digestive health. Plus, it smells beautiful and will compliment your healthy menu while keeping guests hydrated.
Dijon Lime Marinade for Chicken or Scallop Skewers
This fresh, delicious, low-calorie and versatile marinade is straight from the Koko Fuel nutrition program, and has lots of yummy healthful ingredients, like fresh garlic, whose plant chemicals, allicin and quercetin, protect against heart disease and inflammation, lime juice helps curb the appetite and packs a nice jolt of vitamin C, and fresh ginger to add a zip of flavor and aid in digestion.
Combine the following ingredients to make the marinade the night before your cookout. Add your seafood or chicken in a Ziploc bag on the morning of the party, then simply grill to perfection. (Be sure to discard the unused marinade!) We like to use small bamboo skewers with just a few pieces on each stick to serve more people and make grilling a snap.
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 2 clove garlic, crushed
- Black and cayenne pepper to taste
- Makes 8 servings
Veggie Salsa and Black Bean Tortilla Chips
Another Koko Fuel favorite, this fresh and spicy veggie salsa is a healthy, low calorie delight. Serve with organic black bean chips or toasted pita wedges. Make extra and serve it during the week for dinner on fish tacos. So good.
- 1 chopped tomato
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro, or 2 tsp. dried cilantro
- 1 small glove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
- Hot sauce, to taste
- Blend and serve. Makes 1 serving.
Lemon Greek Yogurt Dip with Crudite
You can go crazy with fresh, raw veggies beautifully displayed with this zesty, low-fat Lemon Greek Yogurt Dip. Prepare the dip the night before and trim/display your veggies just before guests arrive. A great container for the dip is a yellow bell pepper with the top cut off!
- 2 Tbsp. grated organic lemon rind
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 32-oz. container plain, organic Greek style yogurt
- Crudite ideas: orange, red and/or yellow peppers cut into strips, sliced radishes, cucumber “spears”, baby carrots, stringless snow peas, celery, broccoli and cauliflower
Sliced Watermelon and Blueberries
Display sliced watermelon and sprinkle blueberries around a large white platter for a little red, white and blue on the table!
Keep Cocktails Simple
Offer sparkling white wine with a choice of fruit or fruit purees so that guests can make their own fruity concoctions. Offer a few local craft beers with a bowl of lemon slices. The new low-cal “spiked seltzers” are a fun addition, too. Encourage guests to bring their favorite addition to the bar, so you can keep alcohol to a minimum.
Have a cocktail strategy: two glasses of water for every cocktail. Limit yourself to just 1-2 cocktails and then switch to water or iced green tea.
Assign Desserts to Guests
Leave the desserts to your guests. That way, you aren’t responsible for serving the sugary, heavy calorie stuff. However, you can feel good about enjoying a few guilt-free since you stuck to your healthy eating plan all day.
Enjoy all the joy and freedom that Independence Day has to offer, alongside family, friends and loved ones. A Happy & Healthy Fourth of July to all!
-Lauren Dell’Olio, Managing Editor, The Stronger Blog
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