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Read Time 9 min

Healthy alternatives for your barbecue

Before you fire up the grill for your Independence Day cookout, consider these healthier takes on traditional barbecue fare.

Fourth of July isn’t quite Independence Day without star-spangled outfits, family cookouts and an epic fireworks display. Tradition plays a key role in Fourth of July celebrations. For most folks, that means grilling out.

We know that it’s tradition to nosh on burgers, hot dogs, potato salad and other barbecue staples on this holiday. We’re encouraging our friends in the Parkinson’s community to have fun, stay hydrated and eat healthy this Fourth of July. Oh yes, and don’t forget to wear sunblock!

Tasty alternatives to burgers and hotdogs

Beef may be the Fourth of July protein of choice, but hear us out, grill masters. The taste of fish cooked over an open flame is hard to beat. Swordfish, tuna and even snapper make great barbecue options.

Salmon steaks are the best choice for people with Parkinson’s because they’re chockful of omega-3s. Salmon is already meatier and richer in flavor than most fish. But if you marinate it in teriyaki seasonings? Trust us, that is next-level deliciousness.

Don’t forget to have meat-free options for your vegetarian and vegan friends. They know personally how much veggie burgers have evolved over the years. You might even consider trying one yourself.

But to each their own! If you can’t go without the burgers or hot dogs, consider skipping the bun to keep your calorie count down. Or choose a whole grain bun to add fiber to your diet for the day. And don’t forget to add plenty of green leafy veggies, tomatoes, onions and other veggies!

Grill fresh veggies and fruit

Fries and potato chips usually make an appearance at Independence Day celebrations, but if you really want to take the flavor up a notch, try sweet potato instead.

Bake them into chips or fries. Or, wrap them in aluminum foil as you would a regular potato, and then load them up with your favorite condiments. You could also bring out the sweetness of the sweet potato with a little bit of honey.

We can’t talk about grilling vegetables without mentioning the four magical words: CORN ON THE COB. Corn counts as a vegetable, and it’s high in fiber. Just go easy on the butter and salt.

Why do vegetables somehow taste better after they’ve been placed on a skewer and roasted over an open flame? Well the same principle applies to fruit. Grilling fresh fruit caramelizes its natural sugars. Mangos, peaches and pineapples are good options. They’re also an excellent substitution for cupcakes, cookies or pie.

Make your own popsicles and ice cream.

Popsicles are an ideal desert for Independence Day because they are not only delicious but hydrating! Try out some low-fat, sugar-free or vegan versions for a guilt-free treat. Or you can make your own popsicles with fresh fruit and almond milk or coconut milk.

Conventional ice cream is loaded with calories, sugar, and fat. But not if you prepare your own. The night before, blend together 1 cup of low fat, low sugar vanilla yogurt, ¼ cup peanut butter, 1 scoop whey protein powder, 2 tablespoons of powdered stevia, and ½ cup of light coconut milk.

Blend this up until smooth and then place in a 9 by 9-inch baking tray in the freezer until frozen. Freeze overnight and about 20 minutes prior to serving, take it out and set it on the counter. Let it thaw for 10-15 minutes and then gently break up the frozen mixture, stirring to create a soft ice cream consistency.

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