Independence Day is a great time to celebrate everything that’s great about America with friends and family. That means cooking, eating, drinking, and generally enjoying a holiday that falls smack-dab in the heart of the American summer.
But, as with any holiday party, it’s easy to lose control of one’s diet. So, how can you keep your calories down and stay safe this Independence Day? Read on to find out…
Use the Barbecue
If you’re looking to host an Independence Day party but don’t want to throw a wrench in your plans to stay trim or lose weight, consider doing most of your cooking using the barbeque.
Why? Because fat will naturally run off the meat you cook using the grill. Compare that to cooking in a pot or pan, where the fat contained in meat has nowhere to go, causing it to soak into the food and make your meal less healthy.
Use Lean Meats
If you’re planning to fire up the grill this Independence Day, be sure to choose lean meats for you and your guests. This includes chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef and pork. Fish is also an excellent option, though it can be tricky to cook on the grill. For the best results, wrap your fish in tinfoil.
If you’re looking to cook frozen hamburgers or hot dogs, opt for those with reduced calories and fat, like those processed using chicken or turkey.
Load Up on Vegetables
Be sure to make super-healthy vegetables a key part of your Independence Day party. If you’re grilling, try combining vegetables with spices like garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper. Add a touch of olive oil to the tinfoil.
Just remember that some veggies (i.e., carrots and beets) take longer to cook than say, onions, celery, and peppers. If you’re not grilling, offer your guests a selection of raw vegetables and low-fat, low-calorie dip (i.e., hummus).
Looking for a healthy dessert option for your Independence Day party? It can be tough to find something that’s tasty and healthy. The answer to this problem always involves using lots and lots of fruit.
The key to building a flavorful fruit-based dessert is to use locally grown fruit that’s in season. For most Americans, that will mean melon and berries, including watermelon and strawberries, both of which reach their peak flavor during the summer months.
Skip the Mayo
Every Independence Day party needs a wide selection of tasty salads, like coleslaw, potato salad, and macaroni salad. But here’s the problem: many of these types of salads are mayonnaise-based, which means they’re typically high in fat and calories.
Thankfully, there’s an easy solution to this problem: use vinegar as the base for your salads rather than mayo. Vinegar contains virtually no calories and zero fat, meaning you’ll be offering your guests generally healthier salads this Independence Day.
Avoid Sugary Beverages
For many people on a diet, identifying and avoiding unhealthy foods can be relatively easy. But it can be rather difficult to do the same with beverages, particularly at Independence Day parties.
If you’re hosting a party this Independence Day, offer your guests beverages that are refreshing but unsweetened. For example, throw some sliced fresh fruit, like oranges, mango, berries, or lemon, in cold water or iced tea. If you’re a fan of carbonated beverages, try sparkling water and avoid soda.
Sip Low-Calorie, Low-Carb Alcoholic Drinks
There’s no denying that, for adults, alcoholic drinks and Independence Day parties tend to go hand in hand. At most holiday events it’s hardly surprising to see everyone with some kind of alcoholic beverage, aka beer, wine, or a mixed drink, in their hand.
That’s trouble if you’re looking to lose or maintain body weight. The key is to drink beverages that are low in calories and carbohydrates. That means opting for mixed drinks that use clear alcohol, such as gin or vodka. Remember that while some beers are low in carbohydrates, many are not low in calories.
Be Vigilant about Food Safety
Enjoying a happy and healthy Independence Day celebration isn’t just about watching how much fat, carbohydrates, or calories you consume. It’s also about being vigilant about food safety, thereby ensuring no one gets ill or hurt at your party.
That means carefully washing all fruits and vegetables before offering them to guests, keeping raw and cooked meat far apart from one another, and putting perishable foods in the refrigerator after an hour or two, particularly if it’s hot outside.