Healthy Entertaining Ideas for the Fourth of July!

Nothing says 4th of July like watching fireworks and getting together with family and friends for a delicious barbecue!  I recently appeared on Let’s Talk Live with fun and healthy food ideas to make your Fourth of July celebration taste great. Read on to learn how to flavor up your celebration the healthy way with quality foods and ingredients, or watch the full clip below.

Surprise Your Guests with an Unexpected Burger

Did you know that over 90% of American households have a jar of peanut butter? Peanuts and peanut butter do more than just add fabulous flavor to our favorite snacks and meals — they also add nutrition to any dish.  Peanuts contain over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients. Combined with the fact that they have more protein than any other nut, peanuts are truly a superfood!turkeyburger

They’re also extremely versatile. Peanuts and peanut butter are a great addition to marinades, sauces or a nice crunchy topping for any side dish or salad you’re serving this summer! We all love using it for our PB&J sandwiches, or as a nice spread for some fruits and veggies, but have you ever thought of using it for your BBQ dish? You can actually add peanuts INSIDE your burger.  Try a “Better Burger” like this peanut teriyaki turkey burger that’s made with turkey, peanuts, mushrooms and teriyaki sauce. Find this recipe and many more at NationalPeanutBoard.Org.

Add A Twist to the Traditional BBQ Sauce

Another way to surprise your guests with taste AND nutrition is to add cranberries to your summer dishes. We tend to think of cranberries as a holiday food, but they’re good for us all year round! Did you know that cranberry products contain antioxidants called Flavanoids? A specific type of these that are unique to cranberries actually prevents bacteria from sticking to cell walls – for example, they prevent E. coli from sticking to the walls of the bladder to help prevent urinary tract infections. The international journal, Advances in Nutrition, did a review of the research and they found that the bioactive compounds in cranberries not only help reduce the incidence of certain infections and maintain a healthy urinary tract,but they also improve heart health by improving blood cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure and improving inflammation.  Add cranberries to your fourth of July celebration by trying this Cranberry Chipotle BBQ sauce recipe. It’s a simple homemade recipe with a blend of tart and smoky flavors that would be a great compliment to chicken or pork. Perfect for any BBQ spread!  For more info about cranberries visit http://www.cranberryinstitute.org/.

Elevate your snacks 

Everyone’s going to look for something crunchy to munch on at a party.  Snacks are perfect to have while waiting for the main dish to be ready! What could be easier than putting out a bowl of chips? Try these veggie chips by The Real Deal Natural Snacks. They have 80% less fat than potato chips, are made with real green peas, corn and rice and there’s a serving and a half of vegetables in each ounce! They come in 2 great-tasting varieties: original and sriracha – a spicy flavor kick! They’re all natural, gluten free, vegan, and kosher. You can find these snacks at your local Whole Foods and Wegmans.

THoney Smoked BBQ (72 bars)ry Interesting Pairings 

Another easy summer entertaining idea is pairing up your favorite snacks. I love KIND bars because they are made from ingredients you can see and pronounce. Various cheeses taste great when paired with KIND.  The new STRONG & KIND bars offer savory flavors and 10 grams of protein per bar from almonds, seeds, and pea protein. These don’t contain soy or whey protein.

There are five bold flavors to choose from, like Honey Mustard, which I’ve paired with creamy goat cheese, Thai Sweet Chili paired with Monterey Jack (for those who like their “spice”) and Hickory Smoked paired with Manchego (which together offer a nutty, smoky flavor). You can also try the Roasted Jalapeno and Honey Smoked BBQ flavors with your favorite cheese.

People will love that you gave them something new and fun to try while hanging out and it couldn’t be easier to pull together — just cut the bars and cheese into bite size pieces, and you’re ready to party! Visit www.kindsnacks.com for more information.

Serve Crowd Pleasing Sides

It’s not easy to find side dishes that can please a crowd, especially for the kids at the celebration. I found an option that kids will love and parents can feel good about. It’s new Pirate’s Booty Mac & Cheese!

This is a great choice for families looking to upgrade their mac-n-cheese, because Pirate’s Booty mac-n-cheese offers quality ingredients like:

  • Organic wheat pasta
  • Real cheese
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

They’re a good source of calcium, offering 10% of the daily value AND 9-10g of protein per serving. You can get Pirate’s Booty Mac & Cheese in four varieties – my favorites are the shells with aged white cheddar, and the traditional elbows with mild cheddar! Look for them at your local grocery store, or visit www.piratebrands.com for more information.

Hydrate with Citrus Beverages

Sunkist Grapefruit Honey Ginger Fizz Recipe ImageAdding citrus to summer beverages is a healthy and refreshing way to beat the heat! Sunkist offers more than 40 varieties of premium quality, fresh citrus year-round including oranges, lemons, grapefruit, specialties and organics. Rather than provide pre-made lemonade at your party, which often includes added sugars and artificial ingredients, give fresh-squeezed lemonade a try. Or try Sunkist’s delicious, lemony twist on iced tea.

For the adults, serve up their Grapefruit Honey Ginger Fizz.  The honey and ginger compliment the tangy, fresh grapefruit in this refreshing cocktail. I like to add a big wedge of Sunkist grapefruit for a garnish that doubles as a superfood snack packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Visit Sunkist.com for these recipes and more!

Thanks for checking out my favorite healthy ideas for the fourth of July! I’d love to hear some of your favorite ideas that make your fourth of July celebration full of flavor and nutrition!

Disclaimer: I was compensated by  KIND Snacks, Pirate’s Booty, Real Deal Natural Snacks, and Sunkist to do the tv segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

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