With the fourth of July right around the corner, you're likely busy making plans to celebrate the long weekend.
While this holiday can be a great time to socialize with friends and family, it can also cause some anxiety for people trying to reach specific health goals.
After all, with the fried foods and treats that typically make up any holiday celebration, it can feel like you only have two options: abstain completely or binge and see your blood glucose levels face the consequences.
Luckily, there is another way! With a few tweaks, you can enjoy some delicious fourth of July recipes while staying healthy.
Read on for tips on keeping blood glucose levels steady through the holiday from the Nutrisense Nutrition Team. Also, get some great meal ideas from a few of their favorite recipes!
Nutrition and Activity Tips to Keep Your Blood Sugar Optimal This Fourth of July
While it may be tempting to lay by the pool all day, getting a little movement in will help keep your blood glucose levels in a healthy range. Consider making this fun with some activities.
You can also make slight tweaks to your meals to help keep you on track for your health goals.
Some general tips for optimal blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels include:
- Walking or engaging in another activity after meals. You can get creative here. After all, it’s the fourth of July!
- Incorporating adequate amounts of protein and some healthy fats into the meal. It will help slow digestion and lead to a more stable glucose level increase.
- Focusing more on fiber-rich foods such as vegetables. A side salad would be beneficial to include if you’re planning to eat fried foods or a lot of refined carbohydrates.
Looking for more specific tips from our nutrition team to keep your blood glucose levels healthy? Read on for their recommendations.
What Randi Yow, RDN, LDN Recommends For Optimal Blood Glucose Levels
"Protein is key! Remember, protein helps keep those glucose responses less pronounced, so add lots of protein to your plate and eat it before your carb foods."
What Amanda Donahue, CD, RDN Recommends For Optimal Blood Glucose Levels
"On the fourth, I like to partake in some family and friend fun time with getting in some movement to help with glycemic control! Sometimes this could be a game of pool volleyball, corn hole, or checking out a new hiking trail since the weather is finally warming up."
Nutritionist-Recommended Blood Sugar Balancing Recipes
Along with the tips above, you can also take the initiative by volunteering to bring your own meal. This way, you’ll relax knowing that there’ll be at least one healthy, tasty dish you can eat without worrying about your blood glucose levels.
Remember, protein and healthy fats will help you maintain optimal glucose levels. Here are some ideas for what to include in your meals:
- Vegetables! It may seem obvious, but it's important to remember. Focus on more nutrient-dense vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower, and bell peppers rather than iceberg lettuce.
- Whole food protein sources such as poultry, seafood, and unprocessed red meat are great additions.
- Also include healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, or some high-quality cheese.
Here are four recipes recommended by our nutritionists that include the foods above and are a treat to eat.
Red, White, & Blue Caprese Salad from FreutCake
Recommended By: Randi Yow, RDN, LDN
Randi shares why she loves this salad, telling us, “For the fourth of July, I always like to make a festive, fun, and healthy dish to bring to family gatherings! This Blueberry Caprese Salad is delicious, healthy, and fun!”
This patriotic-looking salad will be a fun and festive delight for your friends and family! Surprise them with this healthy option that tastes as good as it looks.
- 1 pint Blueberries
- 2 pints Tomatoes (you can also use cherry or grape tomatoes here)
- Firm Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese in chunks
- Fresh Basil
- Dash of Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive Oil to taste
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Watermelon Feta Basil Salad From Salt and Baker
Recommended by Carlee Hayes, RDN, CD
This salad is a refreshing treat to beat the summer heat. Cool down from the summer heat with this juicy watermelon salad with a refreshing twist with basil and a little feta.
The great thing about salads is that you can tweak the ingredients slightly to fit any allergies or restrictions you may have. Enjoy!
- 6 cups seedless Watermelon, cut into cubes
- 4 ounces Feta Cheese
- ¼ cup fresh Basil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon lime juice - freshly squeezed
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
Buffalo Ranch Turkey Burgers from Festival Foods
Recommended by Amanda Donahue, CD, RDN
Amanda, CD, RDN, loves burgers. She says, “My favorite all-American dish is a good burger. These Buffalo Ranch Turkey Burgers are my favorite, super simple to make, and highly customizable with whatever veggies you want (arugula, spinach, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado/guacamole, etc.). For a more glucose-friendly meal, swap the buns out with butter lettuce or red leaf lettuce!”
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 packet ranch dressing mix
- 2 cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 pound ground turkey
- ¼ cup Buffalo sauce
Easy Cauliflower Potato Salad Recipe from Root + Revel
Recommended by Katrina Larsen, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES
This delicious potato salad is paleo and low carb, making it an excellent option for those who have food sensitivities (or intolerances) and are trying to reduce their carbohydrate intake.
With this delicious salad, you won’t feel like your diet restricts you. So you can join in the fun without worrying about what’s in your food.
- 1 head organic cauliflower, cut into florets
- 6 organic potatoes (half Yukon gold and half red potatoes), roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup Paleo mayo
- 2 tablespoons spicy whole grain mustard
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup organic wild capers (drained)
- 1 cup cornichons (tiny sour French pickles)
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup organic parsley, chopped
Some Final Tips to Help You Stay Healthy
Along with the delicious recipes plus tips above, here are some additional ways to make sure you’re staying healthy during this holiday:
- Stick to sugar-free mixers and limit alcohol to a moderate amount, alternating with water.
- Stay hydrated! Make sure to drink plenty of water. If you want to stick to the festive theme, infuse your water with blueberries and strawberries. You’ll also be getting more micronutrients that way.
- Wear sunscreen (check out our nutritionist recommendations to pick a great sunscreen).
Remember to Kick Back and Have Fun
Of course, while these tips are important for staying healthy, don’t forget this is a time for fun and celebration. Remember to sit back and relax mentally.
Worrying about your glucose levels or other health goals will only create stress and rob you of the chance to make some fond memories with friends and family.
Nutrisense nutritionist, Amanda Donahue, CD, RDN, put it best when she said, “Don't forget to enjoy the spectacular, sparkling firework show that evening to celebrate Independence Day!”
Engage with Your Blood Glucose Levels with Nutrisense
Your blood sugar levels can significantly impact how your body feels and functions. That’s why stable blood glucose levels can be an important factor in supporting overall wellbeing.
With Nutrisense, you’ll be able to track your blood glucose levels over time using a CGM, so you can make lifestyle choices that support healthy living.
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Carlee's training at Western Illinois University and an internship at the Memphis VA Hospital lead her to a career in outpatient counseling and bariatric nutrition therapy. In these positions, Carlee realized many of the disease states (upwards of 80%!) her patients experienced were actually preventable. She knew she had to dig deeper into preventative health, which led her to NutriSense and CGMs.