Red, White and New


Family traditions run deep, influencing how you spend your holiday and shaping the menu. The classics from your childhood may not be all that wholesome, but they can be reinvented and nutritious. Enhance your all-American experience this Independence Day by nourishing yourself with nutritious edibles and creating activities to support a healthy lifestyle. 

Celebrate. Food and drink is not meant to be the focal point of the holiday. Of course food enriches the experience, but more importantly spend time connecting in good conversation with your family and friends while remembering those who have served this country. Make it a point to refocus, and truly celebrate freedom. 

Enhance the Flavors. So burgers are a hit at your house, why not make them gourmet this year? Enhance the flavors with toppings like pesto, avocado, arugula, spinach, homemade mustard, and munster cheese. Healthify the burgers by using lean ground meat and whole grain buns. 

Serve a Few. Half of the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines ( recommendations, so amp up your produce recipes and serve a few. Prepare multiple fruit and vegetable dishes to pile on half of the plate and to add variety. 

Stay Patriotic. Find natural ways to add red, white, and blue to your menu. Not only are you staying festive, but you are boosting the nutritional value of your meal too! Think RED strawberries, watermelon, raspberries, grapes, cherries, tomatoes, beets, grapefruit, red peppers, pomegranates, rhubarb; WHITE cauliflower, onion, cannelloni beans, pears, bananas, mushrooms, water chestnuts, parsnips; BLUE berries, eggplant, cabbage, plums, grapes, currants, figs, blue potatoes. 

Be outside; Be active. Pay tribute to your freedom by enjoying the outdoors. Organize backyard games, throw the frisbee, water ski, swim in the lake or pool, paddle board, or chase your kids around the yard. 

A Not-So-Traditional Patriotic Menu:

  • Fruit and Cheese Skewers: Watermelon, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and Blackberries, Cubed Swiss and White Cheddar
  • Grilled Veggie Kabobs: Blue potatoes, Mushrooms, Eggplant, Onion, Zucchini
  • Grilled Asparagus

Salute your independence in a new way, making family traditions this year that are honoring to health. 

Tara Collingwood
Tara is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness, and health promotion and is quoted in a variety of media including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and websites.

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