When the Fourth of July rolls around each summer, BBQ ingredients and red-white-and-blue desserts start to pop up all around us. At the grocery store, at work, and especially during summer cook-outs, some 4th of July party food ideas aren’t always the healthiest. We’ve made a handy chart so you can make easy, healthy swaps when it comes to summer BBQs and 4th of July recipes.
Trade Hot Dogs for Turkey Dogs
Frankly, hot dogs are not a healthy option. The typical pork hot dog with a bun, ketchup and mustard has 919mg of sodium (salt). The World Health Organization recommends eating less than 5 grams of sodium (5,000 mg) per day. Studies have found that eating hot dogs increases our risks for developing health issues like:
- type 2 diabetes,
- cardiovascular disease,
- and higher death rates.
If that’s not enough motivation to give up hot dogs, we recommend giving turkey dogs a try. Though still relatively high in sodium(?), turkey dogs have around half the amount of sodium as regular hot dogs and about a quarter of the amount of fat content.
Opt for Water over Soda
Soda is harmful to our teeth for a variety of reasons, one being that it contains lots of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that men don’t exceed 150 calories from sugar a day and 100 calories from sugar for women. One 12-ounce can of soda can have 140 calories.
By choosing water over soda, you’re not only saving your overall health, you’re saving your oral health. The cavity-causing bacteria in our mouths love to eat sugar. The more sugar we eat, the more acid those bacteria leave behind our teeth. That acid eats away at enamel causing cavities and tooth decay. Try to limit consumption to one soda a day and rinse with water after. Do it for your teeth!
Why Take Corn Off the Cob
If you’ve had any dental work done, corn on the cob is not your friend. And if you have braces, you definitely don’t want to be eating corn off the cob. You could risk ripping your braces away from your teeth. Biting down on the corn cob can crack fillings and sealants, damage braces, and compromise dentures. Even if your teeth aren’t at risk, we bet one or more of your guests may be. Slice the corn off the cob and save everyone a trip to the dentist or orthodontist.
A Healthier Potato Salad
Traditional potato salad recipes can have as many as 360 calories and over 20 grams of fat in one cup. Swap mayo for plain Greek yogurt and a dash of olive oil for a creamy texture everyone will love. Plus, no one will miss those calories you cut out.
Hidden Sugar in Baked Beans
We don’t usually think of baked beans as an unhealthy 4th of July staple. But they can be packed with added sugar and sodium if we’re not reading the can’s label. Half a cup of traditional baked beans can have around 15 grams of sugar including high-fructose corn syrup, as well as pure fat for flavor. Make homemade baked beans a healthier way. Use a no-salt-added tomato sauce and leave out that half-pound of bacon or salt pork. Use pinto or cannellini beans, Dijon mustard, maple syrup for sweetness, and your favorite seasonings. This can cut down the sodium by 40 percent.
Looking for healthier versions of your other favorite foods? Check out: