Health, Nutrition

Four Ways to Stay Healthy this Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. It’s the height of summer and everyone is in a great mood. The kids are out of school and they can really let loose and enjoy the outdoors. Families and friends gather to enjoy the beach, pool or lake to take in all that nature has to offer. 

And just like most American holidays, we are food-obsessed even on the hottest days. Today, the day before the holiday, I ventured out to the grocery store, and it felt like I was there for Thanksgiving shopping; the crowds were so massive. Burgers, hot dogs, potato salad and watermelon were displayed throughout the store, luring shoppers in with their reduced prices. And while the enjoyment of the holiday is savored with friends and family, the focus on food can often derail any progress you might be making on eating healthy. Raise your hand if you have been lured to the food table at your friends party, and regretted the day of socializing because you ‘fell off the wagon.’ As a former grazer (man, I love a good 7-layer dip), here are four ways to stay healthy this Fourth of July. 

Four Ways to Stay Healthy this Fourth of July

1. Opt for a lean protein.

While burgers and dogs are the tradition on the Fourth, these protein-rich options are also loaded with saturated fat and salt. Instead, choose the leaner options of chicken breast, pork tenderloin or even fish, like salmon or tilapia. These options offer a high protein option without the added fat and sodium. If you must choose red meat, ensure it is a lean cut, like a sirloin or strip steak. When preparing a burger, choose lean ground beef, at least a 90/10 ratio to minimize your fat intake. And while we are discussing it, if you must choose a burger, either choose a whole-grain option or skip the bun/bread entirely. These are often empty calories with little to no nutritional value.

2. Choose healthier sides.

If you are like me, you live for side dishes. And if you love to cook, you can really have some fun with different salads and dips. But watch out, this is where the extra calories, fat and even extra sugar hang out. Back in the day, I could devour a 7-layer dip or a massive portion of pasta salad. Now, they don’t make the cut for a spot on my plate. Instead, one of the ways I stay healthy is to opt for sides like bean salad or fresh fruit.

3. Watch out for liquid calories!

It’s not a party if you don’t have the drinks flowing, right??!! And when it’s super hot out, you will definitely be thirsty.

First and foremost, hydrate properly with water first, and in between each alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. This will not only keep you hydrated, but also fill your tummy so that you eat and drink less. One great option is to infuse water with colorful festive berries, like strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.

Secondly, choose wisely when it comes to calorie-rich drinks. Alcoholic beverages (and even non-alcoholic beverages) are loaded with sugar which is truly empty calories. These add up quickly at any social event, but especially in the summer time.

4. Don’t overdo your portion sizes.

Just because you are at a party doesn’t mean you have to fill your plate. Eat as if you would at home, and stick to normal or even smaller portion sizes. Not only will you feel better, but you will likely get a second helping of your favorites, which will quickly add up. Remember, a healthy portion of any type of protein is about 3 ounces or the about the size of a deck of cards.

Fourth of July Recipes

Here are some great recipes from us at Focused on Fit that you can incorporate into your Fourth of July festivities:

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger with a Kick – these are an incredible low fat, low sodium option for burgers that are loaded with vegetables!

Strawberry-Lime Watermelon Smoothie – a great non-alcoholic drink loaded with fresh fruit without the added sugar.

Strawberry-lime Watermelon Smoothie

Homemade popsicles – a great way to avoid the ultra-sugary desserts at a party – bring your own homemade popsicles.


Finally, enjoy your Fourth of July – it is a great time to gather with friends and family and celebrate. Follow these ways to stay healthy and you will definitely fell better on the 5th!