**

**

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

4th of July Picnic Ideas without the extra Guilt

Healthy 4th of July Recipes
Happy 4th of July!
Happy 4th of July!  Well...almost.  So who all has that big 4th of July picnic coming up?  Are you hosting or attending one?  Let me guess, the annual picnic that you either host or attend consists of hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, macaroni salad, chips, pretzels, alcohol, maybe some cupcakes or cake! What did I miss??!  Surely I don't have the only family picnic that consists of all of this food, right?



So, heading in to this holiday weekend one of two things is probably going to happen.
1. You stay on track, maybe pick at a few cheats for your holiday meal, and don't feel too guilty when the weekend is over.
OR
2. You end up over indulging on anything and everything, drink a few too many drinks, and end the weekend a couple pounds heavier feeling guilty.

Does anyone else usually end up like #2?

Holiday picnics can be so tough.  I swear all of the socializing makes you hungry!   I personally will be heading to my parents for a pretty big family picnic that will last all day long. All of the traditional picnic food, and then some, will be staring me right in the face! So, I have a few tips for you consider following this weekend whether you are hosting or attending a party.

  • Use small plates. Did you know that research shows that people who use small plates actually eat less without even noticing? 
Healthy 4th of July Recipes
Yum!
  • Eat the healthiest foods first. Stick with salad, fruits, and veggies.  These types of foods are typically low in calories. In addition, add some lean protein to your plate too.  This will help to keep you felling fuller, longer.  
  • Skip the bread, chips, and crackers.  Refined carbohydrates offer very little satisfaction, not to mention the calories.    
  • Limit your dessert. If you can pass on the dessert, then do it!  If not, keep it SMALL. The difference between a a big slice of dessert and a small piece could literally be hundreds of calories.  So, if you are planning to cheat a little with a dessert, stick with small portion sizes.
  • Think before you drink. You definitely want to stay hydrated throughout the day so be sure you are drinking enough water.  You should aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces.  But, this wasn't the "drink" that I was referring to.  If you are planning to have alcohol, chose wisely.  I know a big strawberry daiquiri or margarita looks and tastes delicious, but, they can have as much as 500+ calories!  Drink a few of those and you've max out what you should consume in an entire day!  So, use a smaller sized glass for the sugary drinks, stick with wine, lite beer, or at the very least, limit (and be cautious) about how much your are drinking.  The same goes for soda/pop.  Aside from the nutrients (or lack of), drinking your calories away isn't a great idea. 
  •  While you are socializing do yourself a favor.  DON'T SIT IN FRONT OF THE CHIPS!  If you do, you may fall in to that trap of mindlessly eating.  What does that mean?  Think about it.  When you sit around a table talking with friends and family is there usually some sort of snack laying on the table?  What happens? Do you notice the hands dipping in the bowl, everyone eating while talking and not even thinking about it?  Yep, that's it.   Mindlessly eating at its best!  Don't worry, I've fallen in to that trap too.  
So, if you are hosting a picnic, then you have complete control over the menu.  Sure, friends and family may bring a sweet temptation, but, you can control the main dish and even some side dishes.  BUT, what if you are attending a party and you know there will be NO healthy options?  Simple, bring something that you YOU can eat!  No, it doesn't have to be something like carrots and celery.  There are several delicious side dishes, and even desserts, that are actually healthy!  Fool those around you.  Bring something delicious and don't tell anyone that it is actually healthy!

Here are some suggestions:

You can certainly check out the side dishes under the Clean Eating Recipes tab right here on my blog. The Bean Salsa and Southwestern Salad are always a huge hit! 


I came across this idea through the 21 Day Fix Facebook page, but found the full recipe on my favorite site, The Gracious Pantry. 

Clean Eating 4th of July Watermelon Cake

Watermelon Cake, Healthy 4th of July Recipes
Watermelon Cake
Ingredients:
* 1 pint clean, organic whipping cream or full fat coconut milk
* 3 tbsp. honey
* 1 watermelon
* 1 pint fresh strawberries
* 1 pint fresh blueberries
* I've also see sliced kiwi used too!

Directions:
1. In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
2. Quickly blend in the honey at the last minute.  Do not over beat!  Just beat it for a few seconds to incorporate the honey evenly.
3. Peel the watermelon, leaving it whole.  Cut the bottom and top to flatten them. 
4. Using a spatula, spread the whip cream over the watermelon, covering it completely.
5. Decorate with berries. 



Here is a great side dish recipe that will definitely be a hit!

Patriotic Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:
* 1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked)
* 1 cup fresh blueberries
* 8 ounces fresh strawberries, diced

Ingredients for Citrus Dressing:
* 2 ounces EVOO
Quinoa Salad, Healthy 4th of July Recipes
Patriotic Quinoa Salad
* 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
* Juice of one medium orange - about 3 Tbsp.
* 3 Tbsp lime juice
* 2 tsp Dijon mustard
* 1 Tbsp raw honey

Directions:
1. Cook Quinoa according to the package directions and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the blueberries, strawberries and set aside.
3. In a small bowl or blender, add oil, vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, honey, and mustard. Whisk or blend until combined.  
4. Pour over Quinoa and fruit and use a spoon to toss.
5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving so that all flavors can blend together. 


Sea Salt & Vinegar Sweet Potato Chips  

Sweet Potato Chips, Healthy 4th of July Recipes
Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients:
* 1 Tbsp Malt Vinegar
* 1 tsp sea salt
* 2 small sweet potatoes

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Slice sweet potatoes into thin slices.
3. Place the slices on a non-stick baking sheet.
4. Bake for approx. 10-12 minutes, flip, then an additional 10-12 minutes (or until extra crisp).
5. Place and shake sweet potato slices in a large Zip-Lock bag with Sea Sale and Vinegar. 





Enjoy your holiday weekend and have a safe and wonderful 4th of July!!



view sourceprint?01