10 Tips for Healthy Eating this Fourth of July

July Fourth Angel Food Cake Trifle

Photo: lemonandlace.com

 This is a guest blog post by Dr. Lisa Sutherland and Emily Kaley

Fireworks, friends, franks and family.  It sure sounds like the 4th of July to me!  This holiday is always fun and enjoyable but often comes at a high caloric cost.  Today we will show you how to enjoy great, healthy food and drinks, without blowing your calorie budget.  After all, who wants to feel sluggish from overeating overloaded foods all day?

It can be difficult to keep track of what you are eating throughout the day if you are picking, picking, picking here and there.  Aim to stick to breakfast, lunch and dinner times with low calorie, nutrient-packed snacks in between.  You want to make sure that you start your day off with a well balanced and filling breakfast.  Research has shown that breakfast eaters have good calorie management throughout the day and have healthier body weights.

* Tip100% whole grain cereal and skim milk, a bowl of fruit and Greek yogurt and a big glass of water. Start hydrating early on in the day.  It’s easy to confuse the feeling of thirst for hunger so stay hydrated.

* Tip – Carry a water bottle with you.

What’s the 4th of July without chips, crackers and cookies? To help fill up, munch on the low calorie, crunchy foods first, such as baked pita or cracker chips, veggies, and fruit.  

*Tip – Simple food swap outs, or controlling your portions, can save your diet while enjoying your food and social gathering.   Sit with your family and friends to enjoy their company and enjoy a glass of ice-cold water with lemon and lime slices in it instead of lurking around the food table.

Studies have shown that people who use a smaller plate eat less so try finding a smaller plate (or whip one out) at that BBQ for lunch.  Fill your small plate with a vegetable salad and add a few pieces of grilled chicken on top to round out your meal.  And if you want a hot dog or burger, have one (not 2 or 3)! There are yummy lower calories choices in the market for both.

* Tip – Fooducate your frank and find one that works for you and your family.

* Tip – A 3.5 ounce, 93% lean beef burger is 150 calories, half the calories of a full fat burger, and a lean turkey burger is 180 calories.  There are also great veggie burger choices.  Have a slice of watermelon or a fruit salad for a refreshing snack or dessert.

*Tip – If you opt for traditional strawberry shortcake, swap out pound cake or biscuits for angel food cake, which will cut your calories by half.  This will help you feel satisfied without blowing your calorie budget.

One of the easiest ways to blow your calorie budget is by drinking away your calories.  Having a few “adult beverages” or losing count of your lemonades can put you over your daily budget.

* Tip – Buy the smaller 9 oz cups instead – which are also better choices for children.

* Tip – If you want a regular root beer, grape soda, lemonade or alcoholic drink, have one – just work it into your calorie budget. Each is around 150 calories for 12 soft drinks (including lemonade and teas), 12 ounces of beer and 6 ounces of wine.  

* Tip – Fun punch – 1-quart of your favorite juice and 1-quart soda water with lime, lemon and orange twists for a refreshing party-favorite drink.  And finally, don’t forget about our good old friend water –

* Tip – Jazz it up with cucumbers, berries or orange slices.

These easy tips can keep your calorie budget in check by ultimately saving you thousands of unwanted calories and extra post-holiday pounds. Have a fun 4th of July and remember that food and drinks are just one part of this pleasurable holiday.  Go red, white and blue!

Lisa Sutherland HeadshotDr. Lisa Sutherland is nationally recognized food and nutrition expert and the president/owner of LA Sutherland & Associates providing food and nutrition science, communication and policy strategic counsel to private and public organizations.  Dr. Sutherland also holds an adjunct professor appointment in pediatrics at Dartmouth College.  She received her doctoral degree in public health nutrition, with a special track in policy and interventions, from the UNC at Chapel Hill.  You can follow her @caloriechannel


Emily Kaley Headshot

Emily Kaley is entering her senior year as a BS candidate in nutrition and food science at Simmons College.  She is currently a nutrition communication, policy and programs intern with Dr. Sutherland.




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  • Lori Kaley

    Wow, great post to help me get through the 4th of July holiday by two of my favorite people on one of my favorite blogs!! So nice to see you co-author this article and guest post for fooducate. Congratulations Em! So proud of my beautiful nutrition-minded daughter!! Thank you, Dr. Lisa!

    • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate

      Thanks Lori, when will you write a guest post for us?

  • Bruce Kaley

    Wonderfully clear information!

  • nicole

    Eat a mostly fruits and vegetables and stay hydrated with water….we needed a whole post to tell us this? Oh and portion control, thats a new idea. This entire post is common sense. And since when does this blog advocate having things like soda, hotdogs, and angel food cake?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=725525204 Jim Cooper

    The only trouble with your 7% fat hamburgers is that they don’t have enough fat to fry or grill without burning. Cooking 15% fat hamburgers and letting the fat drain out may well be a better strategy.