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07/04/15

Home cooking: Why 4th of July celebration can be a healthy endeavor

When you think of Independence Day as it relates to the bevy of 4th of July parties that are expected to be celebrated today, what comes to mind?
For a lot of us, we may answer that question with things like sales, shopping, parades and the multitude of foods that will be in front of our wide eyes as we visit and spend quality time with friends, families or even the stray co workers today.
Truthfully, the 4th of July as it relates to food isn't one that is going to appeal to those who eat healthy on a regular basis. Most of what the July 4th holiday equates to is hot dogs (how can we forget the famed Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest), baked beans and potato salad, with no signs of a stray piece of grilled chicken or salad to be found for miles.
And quite frankly, the 4th of July shouldn't be about being mindful of a strict diet that you've implemented since that New Year's Resolution took affect some six months ago. You know you need a "cheat" day from time to time, so why not enjoy a hot dog and everything else in terms of side dishes just drenched in mayo.
That said, if you're like most food and health conscious people, the 4th of July isn't about depriving yourself of good food, but looking for other healthy alternatives so that the day isn't a complete disaster from a dieting perspective.

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Thankfully, if you're hosting your own party, you can control the food flow so to speak and start a menu that is all things to all people. Yes, you can include the customary hot dogs and salads such as potato and macaroni, but you also can whip up an easy, healthy fresh fruit salad or just a big bowl of summer's arguably favorite fruit, watermelon.
Grilling is another popular endeavor on the 4th of July, so why not include beyond the dogs and burgers an easy vegetable slash chicken kabob that is grilled and includes onions, peppers, zucchini and squash alongside that grilled meat of your choice (shrimp also works well, here, too). The kabob is going to be tasty and much appreciated by not only yourself but anyone else attending the party that can only ingest so many hot dogs in one sitting.
The idea behind the 4th of July party is to enjoy time off from work and fun with your families but the menu or what you eat doesn't always have to be something you dread. Adding variety that is healthy isn't nearly as impossible as you originally thought.

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