Let’s be honest enjoying barbecue ribs and hot dogs on #Fourth Of July is as American as apple pie and baseball. However with all of the fun festivities one can find it easy to get completely off track with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you are like many Americans you’ll probably be heading out to at least one barbecue cook outs or perhaps hosting your own, the following tips can spare you from consuming a ton of calories while at the same time keeping your health and wellness goals on track.

Healthy Eating for the Fourth of July

1. Consume a lot of water

The holiday festivities generally call for a smorgasbord of unhealthy beverages filled with many calories, particularly when celebrating outside in the heat.

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The hot weather associated with summer can make anyone feel dehydrated, making it fairly easy to reach into an ice-filled bucket and pull out an ice cold beer or refreshing soda. Ditch these high caloric beverages for thirst quenching bottle of water. Bring your own water bottle or canteen if you don’t think water will be on the menu or bring a case or two of bottled water for everyone to enjoy!

2. Eat off of smaller plates

A very easy way to eat smaller without even noticing it is to use smaller plates. No need to bring your own plates, instead use a dessert or kids plate and easily consume up to half the calories that you would using a traditional size plate.

3. Fill up on the Healthiest Foods First

Get full off of the healthy stuff first. Mixed greens and salads are a wise starting point because watery veggies do not contain many calories and they moderate digestion.

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In order to feel fuller quicker opt for foods that consist of oil and protein.

4. Restrict or reduce your hot dog intake

Hot dogs are closely associated with the fourth of July, but one of them can also easily pack on a whooping 300 calories. Instead try the following:

  • Opt for a hot dog without additives or fillers. Scrutinize the labels while keeping in mind that the shorter the list of ingredients the better.
  • Eat a hot dog without the bun
  • Swap the white hot dog bun out for a healthy whole-grain bun, pita pocket or tortilla
  • Wrap your hot dog in kale or lettuce if buns and grains are not your thing
  • Reduced-fat chicken hot dogs
  • Reduced-fat chicken sausage links
  • Vegan hot dogs
  • National Hebrew fat-free hot dogs
  • Ditch the traditional toppings, opt for avocado, diced onions and tomatoes, homemade ketchup, reduced sugar relish and whole grain mustard
  • Or skip the hot dog altogether

5. Bring your own healthy potato salad

Many of the potato salad dishes at a Fourth of July cook out are loaded with carbs and fat complete with bacon, cheese and fattening mayonnaise.

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Don’t risk ingesting extra unwanted calories instead take your own. Not sure where to start? Try this delicious recipe:

Pesto Dressing Potato Salad

What you need:

2lbs of red potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks

½ cup of nonfat Greek yogurt

¼ cup of pesto (homemade or store bought)

1 lemon (use the juice and finely grated zest)

4-6 hard boiled eggs (chopped)

Diced red onions OR sliced green onions

Diced sun-dried tomatoes

Salt and pepper, taste

Garnish with fresh herbs

Put it all together:

Boil the potatoes in water until tender. Drain water and let potatoes cool completely.

Combine Greek yogurt, pesto, lemon juice and zest in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chopped hard boiled eggs. Pour mixture over potatoes.

Garnish with red or green onions, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs.

Makes 4-6 servings

6. Eat small portions of dessert

No need to skip dessert, that would just be abuse! However it is important to remember to keep your slice of cheesecake small in order to cut down on hundreds of calories, that a larger portion might yield

7. Bring your own healthy dessert

If you have a weakness for certain sweets opt to bring your own delicious healthy treat instead.

8. Drink healthily and responsibly

Alcoholic drinks can be loaded with sugar and calories. This fourth of July ditch the Mai Tai (620 calories), Mudslide (556 calories) and Pina Colada (586 calories) these drinks are equivalent to digesting a 540 calorie Big Mac from McDonald’s (Yikes!). Instead select one the following lower calorie alcoholic beverages:

Beer

  • Bud Select 55 (55 calories)
  • Miller Genuine Draft 64 Lemonade (64 calories)
  • Busch Light (95 calories)
  • Michelob Ultra (95 calories)

Mixed Drinks

  • Rum and Diet Coke (65 calories)
  • Vodka and Seltzer Water (65 calories)
  • Gin and Diet Tonic (115 calories)
  • Bloody Mary (180 calories)

Champagne and Wine

  • Brut Champagne (65 calories)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon (90 calories)
  • Chardonnay (90 calories)
  • Sweet White Wine (110 calories)

Also remember to stick to:

  • 8 ounces per drink
  • 1 shot per drink
  • For lighter hangovers stick with light-colored alcohol

There are a number of light alcoholic drinks to choose from just be sure to drink in moderation and to also drink responsibly

9. Pay attention

It is important to pay attention to your eating habits during the festivities. If you are not cognizant and mindful of what goes in your mouth then you can easily stay on track. Focus on your appetite if you are feeling full then stay away from eating extra food for no reason. Just because everyone else is eating does not mean that you have to as well.

How to Stay Fit During 4th of July

10. Participate in fun outdoor activities

Make it a point to stay active this fourth of July by organizing fun group activities (emphasis on fun, because if they are not fun no one will participate). Need some ideas to get started? Check out this list of group activities sure to keep everyone moving around while burning calories at the same time:

  • Badminton
  • Bike or walk on a trail
  • Frisbee (the dogs can join in too!)
  • Kickball
  • Relay Races
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Swim in the pool
  • Three Legged Race
  • Tug-of-War
  • Visit the Parade
  • Volleyball
  • Wiffle ball

Have a blast fourth of July, without gaining weight or feeling guilty for overeating. Be aware of the food that you are putting into your mouth and enjoy as many outdoor activities that you can.

How do you stay healthy during all of the fourth of July celebrations? Share your tips below. #healthy eating #Fitness