Get into the Red, White and Blue Spirit with Help from your Dietitian

By Sarah Peterson, Registered Dietitian

The Fourth of July is all about celebrating freedom and values. Similarly, your dietitians believe that you can both celebrate and enjoy food while still staying true to eating in a way that nourishes your body. Trust us: You’ll feel your best staying in this sweet spot of eating that considers both enjoyment and wellness. Here are our top four dietitian tips for your Fourth of July gatherings!

  1. Eat for balance even over the holiday by choosing a protein-rich breakfast.

Eating enough protein at breakfast can help improve your metabolism, mood, cognitive performance, blood sugar control, cravings and food choices for the remainder of the day! One quick on-the-go breakfast idea is Lifeway Kefir. Lifeway Kefir is a cultured dairy drink and probiotic powerhouse filled with essential nutrients important for everyday health. One 8-ounce serving contains 12 live and active cultures and is a good source of protein and vitamin B12, as well as high in vitamin D and calcium.

  1. Eat for balance even over the holiday by choosing low-calorie beverage options.

Calories from alcoholic or sweetened beverages add up yet typically aren’t as filling or satiating as whole foods. Furthermore, calories from alcohol or from added sugar aren’t providing much in terms of nutrition for the body. Dietitians believe in moderation and that “more” is not always “better.” Choose your beverages carefully. Feel free to savor your favorite drink in moderation and then switch to a low-calorie beverage option to balance it out. One flavorful yet low-calorie beverage option is Zevia. Zevia offers a variety of refreshing and delightful zero sugar, naturally sweetened beverages made from real ingredients. Try substituting Zevia into a cocktail or mocktail recipe for a lighter beverage option.

  1. Practice food safety for a fun party free from foodborne illness.

Did you know that you are most likely to get foodborne illness during the summer months? This is due to a few factors. First, harmful microbes multiply more rapidly in warm and humid conditions. Plus, more people are cooking outside at picnics, barbecues and while camping. These environments may not have proper refrigeration or washing capabilities. Here are four steps to ensure safer food this summer:

  • Wash hands and surfaces often. Unwashed hands are a leading cause of foodborne illness. Wash hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, handling pets and before handling food. When away from home, find out if there’s a source of safe water. If not, pack water for preparation and cleaning.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate. Cross-contamination during preparation, grilling and serving of food is another leading cause of foodborne illness. When packing a cooler for an outing, wrap raw meat securely to avoid any juices coming into contact with ready-to-eat foods. Wash plates, utensils and cutting boards that held any raw meat before using again.
  • Cook to safe temperatures. Take your meat thermometer with you. Meat cooked on a grill may brown very quickly on the outside, but ensure it is cooked to the correct internal temperature before serving by using a meat thermometer.
  • Chill promptly. Holding food at an unsafe temperature is another leading cause of foodborne illness. Cold, perishable food should be kept in an insulated cooler bag with several inches of ice or ice packs. Keep the cooler in the coldest part of the car and keep it out of the sun whenever possible. Food kept out of refrigeration for more than two hours may not be safe to eat. When the temperature is above 90 degrees, food should not be left out for more than one hour.
  1. Get into the red, white and blue spirit with festive recipes!

Go all out with this patriotic eye-pleasing dip perfect for your Fourth of July celebrations!

Stars-and-Stripes Layered Dip

All you need:

  • 2 (16-oz each) cans refried black beans with roasted chiles
  • 1 (15-oz) container Monterey Jack salsa con queso
  • 1 (16-oz) container homestyle guacamole
  • 1 (15-oz) pkg Kitchen tri-color restaurant style tortilla chips, divided
  • 2 slices white American cheese singles
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 (14-oz) container refrigerated pico de gallo, divided

All you do:

  1. Layer refried beans, salsa con queso and guacamole in a 4-quart rectangular dish.
  2. Sort out about 1 cup blue chips; slightly break into large pieces.
  3. To decorate like a flag, spread broken chips in 4-inch square in top left corner over top of guacamole. Cut 22 stars from cheese slices using ¾-inch star-shaped cookie cutter; arrange on top of chips.
  4. For stripes, spoon Greek yogurt into large disposable pastry bag. Pipe stripes horizontally across guacamole layer; leaving space between the stripes. Spoon pico de gallo in between the Greek yogurt stripes. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serve dip with remaining chips.

Recipe source:

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.