Posted 2 years ago

“Plating” your way to a Heathier 4th of July

Fourth of July is the all-time American Holiday, known for the food, fireworks and fun with friends and family. However, in all the excitement, it can be difficult to make healthful decisions when choosing what to eat. Using the My Plate Method is great way to “choose wisely” and still enjoy all the festivities.

What is this “My Plate”?

MyPlate is all about proper portions of healthful foods. It provides strategies to ensure that you can get all the key nutrients and fiber you need each day.  It’s a straightforward way to ensure you are meeting daily goals, even on Holidays.

  1. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal.
  2. Choose lean protein and nonfat/low-fat dairy products or dairy substitutes.
  3. When you eat Carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, tortillas) be sure that at least half of all of them are made with 100% whole grains.
  4. Choose water or other calorie free beverages instead of sugary drinks.
  5. When selecting foods with sodium, check the label for sodium content and choose the option with the lowest levels of sodium.

Prepping for 4th of July

Rethinking the menu and “tweaking” your shopping list a little can take your 4th of July meal from overload calorie to healthful.

July 4th Healthy Holiday Tip #1—Lighten up. Substitute some ingredients when making favorite recipes such as potato salad?  Use non-fat plain Greek yogurt, nonfat sour cream or low-fat mayo for part of the regular mayo in the dressing. Or look for a new kind of veggie salad that uses a light vinaigrette instead of one that is bathed in high fat mayo or salad dressing.

July 4th Healthy Holiday Tip #2- Double or triple-up on veggies. Set out a series of vegetable platters or arrangements instead of chips, cheese or antipasto plates.  Make sure you have lettuce and tomatoes as sandwich toppers. Try roasted vegetables or vegetable kabobs on the grill. Corn-on-the cob (roast with olive oil and seasonings and forget the melted butter).

July 4th Healthy Holiday Tip #3 – Pick some whole grain products.  Select whole grain buns, whole grain tortillas or whole wheat pita bread for sandwiches.  Whole grain chips and salsa or pita and hummus can be an alternative to fried potato chips and dip.

July 4th Healthy Holiday Tip #4—Look for lean protein. How about turkey or veggie burgers or even crab cakes instead of burgers?  Grill salmon instead of steak. Instead of brats or hog dogs on the grill go for grilled skinless chicken. For a fun and colorful entrée put hunks of chicken or tofu on skewers with the vegetables. This also helps reduce portion sizes and cooking time and adds even more vegetables to the meal.

July 4th Healthy Holiday Tip #5—Burn those calories and enjoy the company of family and friends. Don’t forget to pack games and balls. Start a new tradition of a family softball or volleyball game. Walking and/or throwing Frisbees are also great activities that can involve family members of all ages.

Blueberry BBQ Chicken Wings


  • 2 Tbs poultry seasoning
  • 2 Tbs garlic powder sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 Lbs chicken wings


Season the chicken with poultry seasoning, garlic powder and salt pepper to your liking

Add the chicken wings to the air fryer, so that the wings do not overlap (you may need to cook the wings in multiple batches).

Cook the wings on 400 for 20 mins in the air fryer (or use the chicken setting on your air fryer).

After the wings are cooked, brush generously with the Wild Blueberry BBQ sauce to your liking.

Alternatively, you can preheat your grill and grill the wings, then apply the BBQ sauce halfway through cooking.

Blackberry Salsa


  • 1 qt blackberries, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 large lime, juiced (about 1/4 cup lime juice)
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


Rough chop the black berries.

Chop the red bell pepper, onion, cilantro.

Finely dice the jalapeno.


In a serving bowl, combine all ingredients. Drizzle with the juice of one lime (about 1/4 cup lime juice) and honey and mix well. For the best flavor, let the salsa rest for 10 minutes or longer.

Serve with tortilla chips, on burger, black bean burgers, with beans or veggies. You can store the salsa covered with an air tight lid, in the refrigerator for about a week.

Amazing Portobello Burgers


  • ⅓ cup raw cashews, soaked in very hot water for 15 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
  • ¼ cup fresh tarragon, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 whole grain hamburger buns, split and toasted
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 4 slices tomato


For sauce, in a blender or small food processor combine soaked, drained cashews with the next four ingredients (through garlic). Cover and blend until smooth, gradually adding plant-based milk until sauce is creamy and spreading consistency. Stir in tarragon. Season with pepper.

Brush mushrooms with vinegar. Grill mushrooms over medium 15 to 20 minutes or until tender, turning once.