By Maris Callahan - DietsInReview.com
We have all heard that colorful fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients. If you're used to eating a palette of colors that include orange carrots, purple potatoes and dark, leafy greens, know that you can eat just as colorfully this Fourth of July with a festive menu designed around your favorite red, white and blue foods.
While a lot of patriotic recipes use artificial dyes and colors to add festivity and fun to your holiday menu, grocery stores and farm stands are chock full of fresh fruits and vegetables that will not only add these patriotic colors to your plate, but important nutrients to your diet.
Raspberry, Lime & Mint Smoothie from The Perfect Pantry: Raspberries contain almost 50% higher antioxidant activity than strawberries, three times that of kiwis, and ten times that of tomatoes. Try them in a refreshing summer smoothie to cool off on The Fourth.
Strawberry-Vanilla Lemonade from Veganess Eats: Skipping the alcoholic beverages at a party can save you hundreds of calories - and a possible hangover the next day. Instead, stay cool with refreshing lemonade that includes strawberries for a splash of vitamin C.
Tomato & Feta Salad with Basil from HoneySage: Simple, cold salads are always excellent for picnics and cookouts. Feta cheese and basil is an unexpected but delicious combination, and tomatoes offer plenty of the cancer-fighting compound lycopene.
Strawberry Salsa from Diets In Review: Who said salsa always has to be savory? Use strawberries to pack a healthy - and flavorful - punch in this favorite party chip dip.
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. lime juice
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 Tbs. fresh chopped mint leaves
2-3 Tbs. fresh chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/4 C. diced pineapple
1/2 C. chopped sweet onion
Combine olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, mint, cilantro, jalapeno, pepper and salt in medium bowl. Toss in strawberries, pineapple and onion. Serve.
Lemon Potato Salad from Kohler Created: Potatoes have a bad reputation for being laden with carbohydrates but when eaten in moderation, they provide you with potassium and plenty of energy. Mix them with a creamy, lighter lemon-y dressing for a full flavor.
Homemade Popcorn from The Yuca Diaries: While a lot of popcorn is soaked in butter, this homemade recipe is pure and delicious, the perfect treat to set out in a festive bowl for your Fourth of July party. Your guests can nosh on handfuls as they arrive - just don't let them fill up before dinner.
Creamy Lemon Ice from Sweet Simple Stuff: Instead of a heavy chocolate dessert or an artificially-flavored ice, make this simple and light dessert yourself.
Tuna Pasta Salad from Diets In Review: Pasta salads are a popular side dish whenever you're planning to turn on the grill. Whip up a batch of this lighter option for your next picnic dish.
1 cup dry rotini pasta
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 cup cucumber, peeled, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced 6 mushrooms, sliced
2, 6.5-ounce cans of tuna, drained
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup nonfat Italian dressing
4 cups ready-to-serve romaine lettuce
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water in a colander. Place the vegetables in a medium-sized mixing bowl; add the tuna, use a fork to break up the chunks. Toss with the vinegar, dressing and macaroni. To serve: Place the tuna salad mixture over the top of the greens.
Rhubarb Blueberry Crisp from Sweet Savory Planet: Though the butter and sugar in this recipe lands it on the indulgent list, you'll love digging into this fruit- and antioxidant-rich dessert. Top it with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt - and then get plenty of exercise at your picnic, playing kickball or catching fireflies.
Blueberry, Watermelon & Feta Flag from Wenderly: Feta and watermelon makes a wonderful combination in a salad, with watermelon providing a low-calorie lycopene fix. To add color and flavor, serve this dish in the shape of a flag with fresh blueberries.
Fresh Apricot Blueberry Drop Scones from The Little Yellow Kitchen: Scones might not be the lowest-calorie breakfast option out there but these baked goods, made with whole-wheat flour and packed with fresh fruit, are a delicious indulgence for a holiday morning.
Chef Devin's Blue Cheese Dressing from Diets In Review: Every party needs a great dip. This rich version from the The Most Decadent Diet Ever author is satisfying whether you're dipping fresh vegetables or dipping grilled chicken wings.
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
3 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup crumbled reduced-fat blue cheese
Whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, hot sauce, and vinegar in a medium resealable container until smooth and well combined. Stir in the blue cheese until well combined. Seal the container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
By Maris Callahan - DietsInReview.com