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What's On Your Plate This Fourth of July?

Posted by Jocelyn Harrison, Nutrition Intern, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in Food and Nutrition
Feb 21, 2017
Go red, white and blue, all the way to dessert!
Go red, white and blue, all the way to dessert!

Happy Birthday America! It’s the Fourth of July and time to celebrate American life. What do you have planned? A family reunion at the beach? A backyard barbeque with family and friends? A picnic in the park? Or a few friends on your patio? Here are some quick and easy tips to make your family’s Fourth of July meals and snacks healthy and delicious!

Get creative and let MyPlate be your guide.

PROTEIN FOODS

Go lean. Choose skinless chicken breasts and lean cuts of beef like sirloin or ground beef that’s at least 90% lean. Try a turkey burger, grilled seafood, or a homemade veggie burger. For many, this may be the main event – but leave room for the other food groups! Here‘s a guide for how much protein to consume in a day.

VEGETABLES

Take advantage of the abundance of fresh summer veggies! You can practically fill your plate with just-picked summer produce. Make kabob skewers or a foil pouch of yellow squash, zucchini, onions, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes sprinkled with your favorite herbs for a tasty and colorful combination. You can brush with a little oil; throw on the grill for a few minutes and “voila,” delicious and nutritious!

Make an “everything” salad. Choose at least 10 of your favorite salad ingredients. Include a leafy green like romaine or spinach and add celery, radishes, carrots, sunflower seeds, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, grated low-fat cheese, scallions.

GRAINS

Make half your grains whole grains. Simple – use whole-grain buns. You can also prepare a simple whole-grain salad using quinoa or whole-wheat pasta.

FRUITS

Think fruit for DESSERT! Nothing says Fourth of July like an ice-cold watermelon or fresh summer peaches. Or, create a patriotic and healthy-licious red, white and blue fruit salad.

DAIRY

Dairy isn’t the only way to get calcium, but it is one of the best ways. Make a tasty dipping sauce from non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt, grated cucumber and mint to serve with carrot and celery sticks. Add low-fat feta cheese to a salad.

BEVERAGES

Drink water instead of sugary drinks! It’s usually hot this time of year so make sure you have lots of ice cold water on hand.  Add thinly sliced lemons, limes, watermelon or strawberries for a flavorful, refreshing drink the whole family will enjoy.

We want to hear what happens when you get creative and let MyPlate be your guide. Share your July 4th spread with us on Facebook and Twitter – we welcome your tips and pics.

Be safe, have fun!

MyPlate provides plenty of great options to make healthy plates this summer. For recipes and other ideas visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.
MyPlate provides plenty of great options to make healthy plates this summer. For recipes and other ideas visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition