July 4th typically means outdoor barbeque celebrations and my husband’s family is no exception. Since they live by the water and have a pool, it makes for the perfect location to fire up the grill, get some sun and enjoy the holiday. My first year at their celebration, I was impressed with the variety of grilled options they had–burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken and Italian sausage. It seemed like there was something for everyone; however, I then realized there were no fruits or vegetables of any kind.
Let me just say that I was probably the only person who noticed or even cared and I’m certainly no goodie-goodie when it comes to celebrations and eating. I enjoy splurging just as much as the next person, but I also really love salads, grilled veggies and fresh fruit. Plus, if I have these options available I tend to eat less of the higher calorie/fat choices.
From then on I made sure I brought along some kind of fruit or vegetable side dish or appetizer. One year I made a pasta salad that included asparagus, red and yellow bell pepper slices, red onion and grape tomatoes. Another time it was a potato salad made with a vinaigrette dressing. I used red skinned potatoes and left the skins on. I added fresh green beans, red onion and fresh basil. Not only did I enjoy having the produce options at these events, but I also noticed others were enjoying them as well! In fact, over time I started seeing guests bring things like fruit salads, vegetables with dip and green salads.
So, this July 4th, be sure to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your menu. Corn on the cob is perfect roasted on the grill as are many veggies like summer squash and bell peppers. You can also grill fruits like pineapple and peaches. And, nothing says summer like watermelon!
Check out a few recent Insider’s Viewpoint posts–the first has some great tips for grilling both fruits and veggies and you’ll definitely want to try another that features a festive recipe for Spinach Strawberry Salad, which is perfect for the holiday. Enjoy the long weekend and Happy July 4th!!