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The 4th of July is an iconic American holiday! Since I was a tiny kid-o, I remember getting excited for this day. Where were we going to watch the fireworks? Who’s house were we barbecuing at and what delicious treats were we going to eat?! Well this year is just like any other, but the best part is, I’m hosting the party! And this is one of those days that can be very long and involve a lot of indulgences. Well, it’s Summertime, so you deserve a few, but here are my three steps to a Healthy and Happy 4th of July!
Step 1: Start the Day with Something Active
I’m going to kick off the day with a really fun group of fit friends to run the 4th of July Run & Ride 10K race in Scripps Ranch. A group of us did it last year and we’ll be back at it this year. Somehow I ran 48 minutes last year, which I think is pretty fast. But after the Gals Who Run 4-Week Run Challenge, I had better beat that time this year! Stay tuned for a full update next week with my June Goal progress report. In addition to running and kicking off the day with a healthy spirit, this race is all about the outfits! It is actually the main reason I invested $60 into my new white Lululemon shorts and even more into my American Apparel sports bra and wrist bans. Oh, just you wait for the patriotic pictures on Instagram!
Step 2: Pick Colorful (and Healthy) Foods
I’d leave it at just colorful, but I’d hate for that to be confused with something like the Swedish Fish I saw this morning that were literally labeled “a fat free food,” like they were good for you or something. So I’m not just talking brilliantly colored, I’m talking naturally, vibrantly and nutritionally colored. For the most part, the richer and denser the color, the more vitamin, mineral and phytochemical power your food will have. And I’m a fan of a theme and the patriotic color scheme makes it way more fun to incorporate red and blue foods.
Now, are you thinking “blue foods — wtf?” Just in case are, let me explain. Some appear more blue (i.e blueberries) and some are more purple (i.e. eggplant) but it’s usually the same flavonoid (anthocyanin) giving it the color. Because there aren’t that many of them, I roll them all into the color category: Indigo.
Here are My Favorite Colorful Fruits and Veggies for the 4th of July:
- Red: apples, dried cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, pomegranate, peppers, red potatoes, and tomatoes.
- White: Very few foods that are white are actually good for you. Think white bread, white sugar, salt, lard…you get. But the one massive exception here is coconut! Coconut oil, raw coconut flakes, coconut water, and coconut cream can make a delicious vegan substitute for whipped cream!
- Indigo: blackberries, blueberries, plums, beets, purple cabbage, eggplant and purple potatoes.
Step 3: Watch the Booze
Moderation will be your savior! On summer days like these that start early on in the sunshine and end under a sky full sparkling explosions, alcohol can be your worst enemy. Not only are cocktails often full of empty calories from the mixers, the clean burning alcohol itself is loaded with 7 calories per gram. That’s more than sugar! And with too much booze, often comes a lack of judgment and even the urge to indulge in a 4th meal that isn’t entirely necessary or even often remembered. But I’m not a party pooper either, so remember these golden rules of day gone night drinking:
- Never drink on an empty stomach
- Alternate one drink for every 1-2 waters
- Light colored alcohols are easier to metabolize than darker (usually equally boozy and caloric, but of a less hangover)
- Beer and wine are good options
- Be mindful of your mixers and choose soda water with a “splash” of your favorite juice
- Consider time of consumption. Red wine and dark beer don’t need to be chilled so you can stretch them out over more time than champagne, a cocktail or light beer that taste icky when they lose their “chill.”
- Calories out can help burn off alcohol so it isn’t converted to fat: dance, play a sport, stand vs. sit, just move around!
- Water, water, water.
Colorful (and healthy) Recipes for the 4th of July
I’m hosting the BBQ as a potluck. So I plan to make a few seasonally appropriate staples and then I’ll fill in the gaps when I see what the rest of the gang is brining. But here’s what I’m planning on making.
- Caprese Salad. This recipe is clearly red and white and is simple to make. This recipe is from Laruen’s Latest and it looks simple and delicious. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I may use a whole chunk mozzarella and slice it vs the balls, we’ll see.
- Purple Potato Salad. I’m filling my indigo quota here and these potatoes just happened to be on sale at my local market. I’m going to use this recipe from A Couple Cooks for inspiration, but will skip the radishes and probably swap greek yogurt and maybe add a few things. We’ll see!
- Skinny Pina Colada and Strawberry Daiquiris. These are original SkinnyTini recipes and honestly, two of the best in the book! I reference them every year as the most appropriate, patriotic cocktails on earth. I’ll serve up the cocktail trio with some simple prosecco with frozen blueberries to keep it chilled!
- Fruity Flag Cake: This isn’t text book “healthy” but I love it. It’s a lemon cake mix (I’ll axe the oil and use apple sauce) you bake as a sheet cake. Then poke holes in it, cover it with lemon putting and refrigerate it. Then frost it with whipped cream frosting and use blueberries and strawberries or raspberries and make a flag. Its delicious! Pics will be on Instagram Friday or Saturday I promise!
There you have it! My three simple steps to a healthy and happy 4th of July!
Which ones might you follow and how are you planning to celebrate?
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