Ben’s 4th of July Survival Guide, Pt. 1

Posted June 8, 2010 by

Summer has hit us, which means warm weather, lots of time at the beach and fun barbecues—particularly the ones we have on the 4th of July. Unfortunately, for most of us, barbeques tend to mean a lot of unhealthy food and lots of alcohol—definitely not a recipe for health! While we believe it’s perfectly reasonable to let loose occasionally, if you get a little bit creative you can actually have a very healthy holiday without sacrificing the taste or enjoyment that comes with the traditional gut-buster-fest.

Try substituting these healthy alternatives for common barbecue items:

Instead of eating Doritos, Ruffles or other fat and sodium-laden chips with high-fat bean or cheese dips, try Trader Joe’s Organic White Corn Tortilla Chips with hummus in one of the wide variety of flavors available.

Instead of high-fat steaks or oil-based chicken marinade, try Mrs. Dash as a dry rub on boneless/skinless chicken breast or breast tenderloins. Mrs. Dash comes in tons of flavors and is completely salt-free. A dry rub doesn’t contain the fatty oils that make marinades calorie-dense, and chicken breast is much leaner than most grill-friendly cuts of beef. If you absolutely must have red meat, london broil is very lean and lends well to the dry rub.

While abstaining from drinking alcohol at all is the most healthy choice, we all know that isn’t going to happen for most of us. It’s the 4th, after all. However, by trying these substitutes and drinking in moderation, you can minimize the negative effects and still enjoy yourself.

Try Budweiser Select or MGD 64 if you like light ales. Both of these have significantly lower calories per beer than their alternatives. If you prefer dark beer, Guinness is (surprisingly to most folks) lower in calories than many other beers. Sangria is a great alternative to margaritas or other sugar-laden mixed drinks. While sangria has sugar in it, it mostly comes in a natural form from the fruit pieces.

Drink a glass or bottle of water between each alcoholic beverage to keep yourself hydrated. Even better, you won’t wake up the next morning with a hangover!

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