Wave your flag and celebrate your All-American spirit by adding a little red, white, and blue to your menu. For a festive and nutritious patriotic celebration, check out the following food inspirations:
- Top your breakfast cereal, yogurt, ice cream or salads with fresh blueberries, strawberries and white slivered almonds.
- Add dried cherries or cranberries to salad or coleslaw. Enjoy cherries and watermelon and red, purple and Concord grapes as snacks or dessert.
- Make two red and blue jello layers filled with cherries and blueberries, and add a thin spread of soft, lower-fat cream cheese mixed with light sour cream between layers.
- Make a big pizza cookie out of prepared vanilla cookie dough topped with a spread of light cream cheese and powdered sugar blended together as “icing.” Sprinkle red and blueberries on top and consider adding pineapple, peach and mandarin orange slices, too.
- Make fruit kabobs with several fresh fruit slices. Try red and blue berries and red plums.
- Make vegetable kabobs with several veggies, including red bell peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower and onions.
- Make a fruit salad with 5-6 different types of fruit, such as melon, grapes, pineapple, apples, berries and cherries.
- Add black beans, red beans and white navy beans to your baked bean dish.
- Make a smoothie with ½ cup Concord grape juice, 1/2 banana, ½ cup non-fat vanilla or Greek yogurt, ½ cup berries or peach slices and 5-6 ice cubes for a refreshing blue smoothie.
Not only are these foods a fun way to honor your American pride, they add great nutrition to your day. Red foods carry Vitamins A and C, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that promote good health, lower cholesterol, and prevent heart disease and clogged arteries. Blueberries contain more valuable antioxidants than most foods, boosting overall health. (ORAC values which measure antioxidant ability, score blueberries at 2400, cherries at 670 and pink grapefruit at 485). Blueberries and grape juice have recently been shown to boost cognition and memory, keep arteries elastic, and promote immunity. White foods, like garlic, onion, potatoes and cauliflower, offer Vitamin C, healthy antioxidants and many other significant nutrients, including Vitamin B, minerals and phyto-nutrients that help fight heart disease and cancer, and promote your overall well-being. Almonds, like other nuts, have been linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks, if consumed in 1 oz. (about 3 Tbsp) servings five or more times a week.
Celebrate your patriotism with a menu that’s both healthy and crowd-pleasing. Good food decisions mixed with physical activity will ensure this holiday is a memorable one.
For more ideas on heart-healthy eating, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating fun and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.
This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.