You don’t have to ditch a healthy lifestyle to enjoy the Fourth of July! Some menu ideas to trigger salivation and satiation – in a healthy way!
Deviled eggs: Eaten in moderation, these actually aren’t that bad for you. And if you eat them as your first thing at the gathering, they help satisfy and moderate your appetite so that you are less likely to overeat. My favorite way to make a healthier deviled egg is with nonfat greek yogurt, light mayo, dijon mustard, paprika, sea salt and relish. Using a large star tip, piping the yolk mixture into the eggs makes for a nice presentation. Garnish with chives.
Pickle plate: You can pickle almost any veggie. Try pickled beans, garlic scapes, the traditional pickling cucumber, carrots, cauliflower.
Cherries: This is the season to buy them!
Peanuts in the shell: This is a great way to provide an interesting snack that is healthier because one has to “work” to get at the peanuts, so taking a mouthful all at once is avoided. A lot more satisfying.
Kale: Try kale with ground pepper, minced tarragon, sunflower seeds, cabbage and spiralized beets. A tip to making a kale salad easier to chew: using a creamy dressing, massage the dressing into the kale for a minute. A great benefit to bringing a kale salad to an event is that kale does not immediately wilt!
Carrot salad: Spiralize carrots and toss with a dressing made from lime juice, honey, sesame oil and soy sauce. Garnish salad with sprinkled, chopped peanuts and cilantro. Tip: A spiralizer works best with a carrot that is large in diameter, and I like to sprinkle extra lime juice on the carrots and toss prior to adding the rest of the dressing.
Garden salad: Red or green leaf lettuce, fresh, curly parsley leaves in quantity that is around half of the lettuce, julienned carrots (use a mandolin), julienned red pepper, diced green onion, a generous amount of shredded basil, fresh ground pepper and your favorite dressing. A julienned carrot is a great means of providing an interesting variety of mouth feel to the salad. Tip: tossing the salad with the dressing to evenly distribute if you can plate the salad and serve it right away. Otherwise, it will wilt. If you need protein, try some fried, seasoned chickpeas!
Hummus and fresh pita – if you have a bakery that makes pita, it’s best to get it the same day you are going to eat it.
Sweet corn on the cob – no need to add butter.
Grilled zucchini and vidalia onion – season with salt, fresh chopped thyme, olive oil; place right on the grill.
Bean salad – surely some aunt or grandma has a recipe for this in your family! My favorite: pinto beans, fresh chopped basil, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, fresh corn kernels, diced red pepper.
Grilled cauliflower steaks – brush with dressing made from smoked paprika, honey, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. After grilling, garnish with chopped chives and ranch dressing.
Grilled, herbed salmon. Grill with skin on for best result. Brush salmon with oil and season with fresh ground pepper and himalayan salt. After grilling, season with fresh lime juice and garnish with a chopped herb mixture such as tarragon, marjoram, thyme and parsley.
For vegetarians: Try grilled Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Sausage in a whole wheat bun with mustard.
Refreshing Drink Ideas
Seltzer and unsweetened cranberry juice.
Frozen red grape, berry and nonfat greek yogurt smoothie. The grapes make it such that you don’t need to add an extra sweetener – they’re already sweet enough! Tip: blend with a decent amount of very cold water to make the smoothie pourable.
The old summer standby – watermelon!
Fruit salad: Nectarine, blueberry, lime juice, honey and celery seed. Take advantage of nectarines and blueberries in season!
Angel food cake with macerated, fresh berries.