4th of July Recipes!

Hello and Happy 4th!

This time of year brings loads of family and friend time along with all the fixings (i.e. food!) so here are a few easy recipes for your 4th as well as some tips on staying healthy :)

Do it yourself marinade:

Most bottled marinades contain high fructose corn syrup and loads of preservatives. You can whip up an easy marinade with the simplest of ingredients. Here are 2 of my favorites.

Soak meat in yogurt overnight. I know that sounds really weir BUT the yogurt will tenderize the meat and make it soak up more of your marinade. No yogurt? You can simply use milk with a small squeeze of lemon, about 1/4 wedge.

Marinade 1:

Best for pork/chicken

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

8 chopped rosemary sprigs

6 chopped basil leaves

juice of 1/2 lemon

pinch of salt


Mix together in bag, thrown in meat and let sit for 4+ hours (can sit overnight)

Marinade 2:

Best for fish

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons dill

juice of 1/2 lemon

juice of 1/2 lime

pinch of salt


Place fillets in shallow dish, cover with marinade, seal with plastic wrap, let sit for no more than 2 hours

Both of these are super easy marinades. I prefer dry rubs for red meats. You can use a variety of spices including:

  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • cayenne
  • red pepper flakes
  • chili power
  • cocoa power
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • sea salt
  • pepper

Be creative and see what you can come up with for your party.

Tasty Sides:

I know the old standbys are potato salad and coleslaw, but you can save time and calories by thinking outside of the box.

Try serving crudities (small bites of veggies) with a variety of dips. Any mayonnaise based dip can have a healthy twist by switching the mayo for greek yogurt.

Instead of slaw, try a shredded salad. Take romaine, red cabbage, green cabbage, baby spinach, and maybe a spicier green such as arugula. PLace in large bowl and pour a sweet ginger dressing over it.

Ginger Dressing:

1/2 ginger root, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon mustard

Place ginger in food processor and pulse until soft, add honey and mustard and blend until creamy.

The Sweets:

It can be so tempting to break out the pies and cookies I know, but have you thought about playing with fruit? Try offering up some fruit skewers this 4th. Simple pile on different in season fruits as though you were making a kabob (by the way, pineapple and peach skewers can be grilled and are delicious at the end of a meal). Kids love these and you can offer up some yogurt based dips to sweeten the deal. If skewers aren’t your thing, try a large fruit salad. Always squeeze a small amount of lemon/lime on your fruit to keep it from browning. You can also mix any fruit into fun popsicles or frozen yogurt for a cooling treat in the middle of Summer.

Staying Safe:

Sun safety is a big concern during these outdoor gatherings, as is bug safety here in the South! Make sure that you and your loved ones are protected by applying sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher every 4 hours, more often if swimming is involved. Most of the spray formulas are easy to use and don’t feel extra greasy. If you cannot tolerate the spray, try a good rub on like Burt’s Bees, which helps with both the sun and the bugs :)

You can get some sun protection from your foods. Try adding in lots of berries, leafy greens and sweet potatoes as these foods have been shown to increase the skins natural sun protection.

For the Adults in the room:

When partaking of the alcoholic beverages, have you ever stopped to think about how much good it could actually be doing you? Well, if you are a beer drinker, try a darker brew. The darker the brew, the higher the antioxidants. Recent studies show that dark brews actually offer several health benefits including boosting antioxidant consumption. If you love the mixed drinks, try to forgo the heavy syrups. Not only do they add calories, but it is in fact the sugar that causes the hangover. Stick with lighter spritzes (white wine and club soda, red wine and cranberry juice, vodka and sparkling water) if you are spending time outside. This will help cool the body. Be aware that alcohol, as well as caffeine, dehydrate. So make sure you are taking it in moderation and chasing it down with water.

However you celebrate and wherever you may be, I hope that you take the time to give thanks for our freedoms this 4th of July.

Stay healthy!