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For those of you who are with me on the hard journey of keeping the weight off this summer, you might have mixed feelings about the 4th of July. This holiday is known for fun drinks, tasty barbecues, and sweet treats while having fun with family and friends. It’s not frowned upon to give yourself a break now and then, but going overboard can be a real setback. It’s so easy to rack up the calories when you are at a barbecue, but if you make some smart choices it won’t be too bad.

Fruit Arrangements

July 4th fruitThere are so many fun things you can do with fruits, especially since many of them are patriotic colors. Try mixing up blueberries, strawberries, and bananas in the shape of the flag.  You can also cut watermelon into stars for the perfect snack for the 4th of July. If you want to spice it up a little bit, make red, white, and blue fruit popsicles to help you cool down in the summer sun.

Healthy Dips

DipsChips are a staple at any backyard barbecue, but regular potato chips can be addicting and loaded with fat. The best option is corn chips, but they can be kind of plain on their own. Whipping together a light dip is easy and guilt free, and just as addicting as the alternatives. Light spinach artichoke dip is not only much healthier than other dips, but it is a crowd pleaser. This southwestern layered bean dip is delicious, and will fill the Mexican food void in your party. Avocado lovers can make a skinny guacamole dip to pair with baked tortilla chips, which is always a hit.

Light Appetizers and Sides

deviled eggsAppetizers are where the fun begins at any meal. Waiting for the main course to be cooked, grilled, or put together can seem to take forever when you are hungry. Avoid loading up on unhealthy snacks and prevent overeating by snacking on healthy appetizers before the main dish is served. Deviled eggs are not only amazing, but they are full of protein and a very healthy choice, as long as they are prepared right. Potato salad gets a bad wrap because the standard recipe calls for tons of mayo and sugar. Swap the old fashioned recipe for this lighter version, and you can still enjoy this classic side. Corn on the cob is an All-American favorite in the summer. Boil it, grill it, bake it, and it is amazing either way. Throw some cobs on the grill, and you can have a great side to any dish.

Smart Main Dishes

chicken kabobThe main dish for 4th of July barbecues include some kind of grilled meat. The good thing is- there are many ways you can enjoy this without feeling guilty. Opt for chicken instead of beef, or kick the bun to the curb. You could also swap the white bun for whole wheat, and that can make a world of a difference. Be careful when having something with barbecue sauce, because most brands are loaded with sugar. If you are having a burger, simply opt for reduced sugar, organic ketchup, or mustard and you will be avoiding tons of calories, sugars, and salt.

Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up this weekend, just be sure to get back on track if you have goals you are working towards. Use some of these ideas and you can rest assured the temptations won’t be so high. The most important thing is that you enjoy yourself, and celebrate Independence Day. Have some fun, be safe, and treat your body right. Happy Fourth!

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