Simple and Healthy Fourth of July Party Food Ideas
The holiday weekend is upon us, and for many, it is a time to gather and eat. Summer, in general, is a great time to experiment with fresh fruit and vegetables. Even cooking methods are different in the summer as you don’t want to heat up the house by turning on the oven.
Grilling is a great cooking method for the summer, so how can you make it a bit healthier?
- Don’t forget the veggies! Try slicing zucchini and summer squash, mushrooms, onions, asparagus, or whatever your favorite vegetable to put in a vegetable grill pan. Just add a little olive oil and seasoning and you are ready to go.
- Make some meal packets! Get some heavy-duty aluminum foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray. You can start with a piece of chicken, fish, or even shrimp. Add vegetables, some oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Close the packet (leaving a tent for steam) and cook on the grill or even the campfire.
- Use a cedar plank to cook salmon, tilapia, or even chicken.
- Throw some extra chicken breasts and corn on the grill to use on a fresh salad for the next day’s lunch!
If it’s too hot to cook, consider an entrée salad. Some of my favorites are:
- Chopped salad with sliced avocado and grilled shrimp
- Tex-Mex salad with grilled corn and black beans
- Grilled chicken salad with blueberries or mango
- Strawberry and spinach salad
If you want to keep a red, white, and blue theme for the Fourth of July, try some of these:
- Start off your morning with cottage cheese topped with strawberries and blueberries or make some berry pancakes topped with light whipped cream.
- Top your salad with purple cabbage (yes I know it’s not blue, but pretty close!), tomatoes, and feta cheese or jicama.
- Try some blue corn chips with white queso dip and salsa.
- Make a red, white, and blue potato salad with different color potatoes.
- Make a trifle dessert with angel food cake, strawberries, and blueberries.
While you are out in that July heat, please don’t forget about food safety. If you have any mayonnaise-based salads, remember to limit their time in the sun, and pack them away on ice after an hour or so to keep them chilled. Bring a meat thermometer to ensure properly cooked meat temps, especially making sure your chicken reaches 165 degrees. And, if you are camping, have separate cutting boards for meat and veggies or bring them with you precut to avoid the mess!
Red White and Blue - Watermelon and Blueberry Fruit Salad
2 cups watermelon cubed
1 cup jicama peeled and cubed
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh mint chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled
Mix watermelon, jicama, and blueberries in a large bowl. Mix the lime juice, honey, chili powder, and salt in a small bowl and pour over the watermelon mixture. Add mint and more salt to taste and top with feta cheese crumbles. Chill for 30-60 minutes before serving.
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