The Fourth of July is fun for everyone but the guy on a diet. We know, it sucks to eat salad when everyone else is going full “‘Merica!” on the barbecue and buffet. But you don’t have that luxury. If you want to avoid looking like a Thanksgiving float by Labor Day, you think, you need to count your carbs now.

Well, not necessarily. You can party hard and still look like a guy (or gal) who doesn’t by employing a few simple tricks. Here’s how to enjoy this Fourth without having to plead the fifth the next morning.

 

How To Have A Healthy 4th Of July

How To Have A Healthy 4th Of July And Not Turn Your 6-Pack Into A Keg

1. Fill Up On Healthy Food Beforehand.

An hour or so before the festivities begin, make yourself a salad with ample amounts of fat and protein. Include a couple hard-boiled eggs or grilled chicken slices, avocado, and olive oil. A simple meat and veggie stir fry cooked in copious amounts of butter or coconut oil will work too. Too rushed? Drink a protein shake, but make sure it’s the thick, creamy kind that looks like a milkshake (as opposed to clear, fruity-flavored blends). A 2013 study found that subjects who drank creamy protein beverages perceived the protein content of the shake to be even higher than it was, and that enhanced fullness. By satiating yourself pre-party, you’ll crave less crap than if you start on an empty stomach.

2. Choose Your Alcohol With Care.

Drinking someone else’s blend of booze (such as from a punchbowl) gives you no control over how much alcohol and sugar you consume, and it’s bound to add up fast. Instead, I like to make my drinks ahead of time, bringing a concoction of my own to the party. It’s a win-win: everyone can enjoy it, and I know how much I’m serving myself. I use either vodka, tequila, or gin, 3 parts soda water, 1 part juice, some lemon or lime, and a squeeze of liquid stevia. You can skip the juice and stevia altogether, but they make the drink a bit more decadent and refreshing (and that may help prevent you from indulging in other booze).

Here are a couple combos I love:

Watermelon Lime SpritzerWatermelon Lime Spritzer

● 1 part tequila or gin
● 3 parts club soda/mineral water
● 1 part watermelon juice
● 1/2 part lime
● Liquid stevia to taste

Hibiscus Cooler

● 1 part vodka
● 3 parts club soda/mineral water
● 1 part hibiscus punch (you can get this at a health food store)
● 1/2 part lemon juice
● Liquid stevia to taste

Make a couple large pitchers for a party or one at a time. Serve over ice with an herb or citrus garnish. If you want to get extra fancy, you can muddle some fresh fruit with basil or mint into the bottom of the glasses.

3. Remember, Party Food CAN Be Healthy!

Part of celebrating is eating food you enjoy, but that doesn’t have to mean empty calories and lots of refined carbs. Offer meals that are delicious but a bit more health-conscious. Beef, lamb, and other meats provide a lot of flavor, and are fine in controlled portions. They will always be better choices than pizza or foot-long sandwiches packed with cold cuts (too many preservatives).

Here’s a recipe I love from my cookbook Paleogasm that is sure to be a hit:

Lamb Burgers with Greek Salad & Coconut Tzatziki

Lamb Burgers with Greek Salad & Coconut Tzatziki

Serves 4

Burgers:

● 1 ½-2 pounds ground organic lamb (or combo of lamb and beef, if desired)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the grill or a heavy frying pan on medium heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper and form into patties that are about 1-inch thick. When grill or pan is hot, cook patties on each side 6–9 minutes.

Greek Salad:

● ½ pound ripe tomatoes, any variety
● 2 stalks celery
● 2 avocados, ripe but firm
● 2 red bell peppers
● 1 cup pickled onions
● 1 large English cucumber, seeds removed
● ½ cup flat-leafed parsley, chopped
● 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
● ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
● ¼ cup lemon juice
● salt and pepper to taste

Cut all veggies into about 1-inch chunks, but it doesn’t need to be perfect. Remove seeds from tomatoes (unless using baby tomatoes) and cucumber. Add the herbs, lemon, and oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Coconut Tzatziki:

● 16 oz plain coconut yogurt
● 1 cup seedless or de-seeded cucumber, chopped small
● ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
● ¼ cup lemon juice
● ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
● 2 cloves garlic, chopped small
● 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
● 2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and allow flavors to marry 30 minutes before serving.

Looking For a Couple More Recipe Ideas?

Looking for a couple more recipe ideas?

Watch Episode 10 of my show, Camille’s Paleo Kitchen, where I’m joined by my guest, Tony Federico, co-author of Paleo Grilling. We whip up recipes for bacon jalapeno wrapped shrimp, veggie burgers with a grilled romaine and avocado salad, and a key lime parfait for dessert.

You can also get the first chapter of my cookbook, Paleogasm, free, here. It includes ideas for making every meal of the day more paleo-friendly (and delicious), and will surely get your creative juices flowing for throwing a great Fourth of July party.

 

How To Have A Healthy 4th Of July