Healthy Summer Foods You Can Bring to the July 4th Cookout
Summer is an exciting time of year when prioritizing your health. For example, it’s the perfect season to refresh your regular workout routine. Whether you decide to trade in your typical jogging route for a beachside run, get in some cardio exercise at the local pool or make the most of the warm weather to try out a scenic hiking trail, there are many ways to take advantage of summer to spice up your exercise plan.
If you’re looking to make summer your healthiest season yet, you shouldn’t stop at just your fitness routine. The best way to boost your overall wellness is to focus on maintaining a healthy diet. When you’re searching for how to improve your diet, one great option is to incorporate healthy summer foods into your meals.
A healthy diet has a wide variety of health benefits, from making it less likely that you’ll develop diseases such as cancer, diabetes and depression, to boosting your energy levels and supporting your immune system.
These amazing health benefits don’t have to come at the expense of taste. In fact, thousands of recipes for healthy summer foods are available online that are not only good for you but taste good too. We’ve rounded up the best delicious and nutritious recipes out there that are good enough to take to all of your favorite summer celebrations, like the annual July 4th cookout.
Fourth of July Recipes: Main Dishes
If you’re hosting a Fourth of July cookout, you’re probably hoping to find some great main dishes. There are plenty of healthy summer foods that you can cook up to be the perfect star of the show at your event. In our roundup of the best Fourth of July recipes including healthy summer foods, here are some excellent entree options:
Confetti Turkey Burgers
At the typical Fourth of July cookout, burgers and hot dogs are staples. You’ll find piles stacked on the picnic table alongside potato salad and coleslaw. While burgers and dogs might be classics, they don’t qualify as healthy summer foods. The processed red meats that make up these cookout dishes have hefty amounts of unhealthy saturated fats.
This recipe for Confetti Turkey Burgers is a much better alternative. Lean ground turkey is paired with bell pepper, onion, spinach and feta cheese for a delicious and nutritious burger.
Vegetables make great healthy summer foods, and turkey is a great alternative to traditional ground beef for a healthier burger base. And, when thinking about healthy summer foods, don’t forget the bun. Consider switching out the average burger bun filled with processed carbs for a whole-wheat option to maximize the health benefits you’re getting with this dish.
Even better, try wrapping your burger in a piece of farm-fresh romaine lettuce for the healthiest option possible.
Moroccan Grilled Chicken
Chicken is another excellent nutritious option to throw on the grill at a July 4th cookout. This recipe for Moroccan grilled chicken is a great choice to take along to a summer get-together, whether you want to impress as a host or a guest. Lean chicken meat is a great replacement for less healthy red meat options like ribs or sausage often served at summer cookouts.
The best part about this particular dish is its unique blend of seasoning. The first thing that comes to mind when you hear healthy summer foods might not be spices, but the seasoning you use on your dish can actually make a big difference in how healthy the dish is. This grilled chicken is chock full of all of the best spices out there. Cinnamon, cayenne, turmeric, ginger, cumin and paprika are all well-known for their many health benefits!
Pineapple Tofu Kabobs
It’s always a good idea to have a plant-based main dish on hand for the vegetarians and vegans in your life, but you don’t have to settle for dry and flavorless store-bought veggie burgers. There are plenty of simple healthy summer foods you can make on your own that fit the bill, too, like these pineapple tofu kabobs. This vegan recipe puts a tropical flair on the traditional beef and vegetable kabobs you may be used to.
The main ingredients in this main dish recipe are great healthy summer foods. Pineapple is filled with antioxidants and contains a wide variety of essential nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and copper. Just like pineapple, tofu packs a nutritional punch with antioxidants, vital amino acids and fiber.
To top it all off, these kabobs are seasoned with healthy spices including turmeric, garlic and ginger.
Fourth of July Recipes: Sides
What’s a July 4th cookout without sides? Side dishes are just as important as entrees for gatherings like barbecues and cookouts. The right sides are delicious in their own right but don’t take away from the main dishes. Here are some of the best Fourth of July recipes that make the most of healthy summer foods and are sure to be great side dishes:
Instead of picking up a container of pre-made pasta salad from the grocery store, consider making a homemade version to incorporate healthy summer foods and increase the wellness benefits of your dish. This plant-based pasta salad recipe features chickpea pasta instead of regular pasta made of unhealthy refined grains.
Cauliflower and broccoli are also an important part of this side and bring along high levels of antioxidants. Other healthy summer foods in this recipe include olive oil, garlic, basil and parsley. Once you taste this plant-based pasta salad, you’ll never want the grocery store version again.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Regular baked potatoes are a common cookout side dish, but sweet potatoes are an even better option when prioritizing healthy summer foods. This recipe for Mediterranean-baked sweet potatoes is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next get-together.
The sweet potatoes are roasted with a variety of healthy summer foods, including chickpeas, olive oil, paprika, coriander, cinnamon and cumin. Once they come out of the oven, the sweet potatoes are topped with a garlic herb sauce and finished with additional healthy summer foods like parsley, cherry tomatoes and lemon juice. Not only is this recipe packed with healthy summer food ingredients, but it’s also sure to be a unique take on a cookout side that your friends and family haven’t tried before.
This is one of the simplest Fourth of July recipes out there. With only five ingredients, you’ll be able to throw this side together in no time. As a general rule, fruits are great healthy summer foods, and the strawberries, blueberries and bananas that make up this fruit salad recipe are no exception.
Mixed together with antioxidant-rich lime juice and honey as a healthier alternative to processed white sugar, every ingredient in this fruit salad is a healthy summer food. You can customize this side based on the fruits you have on hand or your personal favorite healthy summer foods. Consider using watermelon or raspberries for your red fruit, blackberries instead of blueberries or a serving of dragon fruit or starfruit for an exotic twist. Best of all, its red, white and blue theme will fit the July 4th cookout perfectly.
Fourth of July Recipes: Desserts
No cookout would be complete without a dessert or two at the picnic table. Typical baked goods are made with processed and refined grains and sugar that are definitely less healthy than they could be. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy summer foods that make great dessert option alternatives. Here are some of the best Fourth of July recipes for desserts out there:
This recipe for watermelon sorbet only requires one ingredient: watermelon. All you have to do to whip up this dessert is freeze a cut-up watermelon, place it in a blender and put the resulting puree back in the freezer to solidify.
The refreshing taste of this sorbet is sure to please everyone at the cookout, and you’ll be pleased to discover that it also contains various healthy compounds, including vitamin C, antioxidants and lycopene.
Peach Pie Bars
Classic Fourth of July celebrations often end with a slice (or two) of pie. Traditional pie recipes include ingredients that could be healthier, such as white flour, refined white sugar and butter filled with saturated fat.
These peach pie bars are made up of great healthy summer food alternatives, including almond flour, coconut sugar, almond milk and almond butter. This is a version of pie you can enjoy without worrying about any unhealthy consequences!
Store-bought ice creams and popsicles are an easy dessert option, but they are filled with saturated fats and refined sugars that will make you think twice about including them at your next July 4th cookout. Instead, make this easy frozen banana recipe.
Bananas are dipped in dark chocolate, topped with your choice of pistachios, almonds or cocoa nibs and then frozen. Once you bite into this delicious treat, you’ll forget all about the unhealthy frozen desserts you’ve had in the past.
Stay Healthy this Summer with Aeroski
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A regular fitness routine is a great addition to a healthy diet, like one filled with healthy summer foods. Aeroski’s engaging and immersive exercise is sure to inspire you to stick to your fitness plan and achieve all of your workout goals during the summer season and beyond.
Stay healthy this summer by following a consistent, enjoyable exercise routine with Aeroski!