How to Make Your 4th of July Menu Healthy and Affordable

How to eat healthy and stay on budget on July 4th

Are you ready for your 4th of July celebration? If not, then you still have a few last minutes to get your healthy menu together and stay on budget!

4th of July is one of those holidays that can get pretty pricey with food and beverages pretty quickly. I love attending cookouts and sometimes having one of my own for this festive holiday. However, when hosting one, I have found that they can put a huge dent in my wallet if I am not careful. I have also noticed that most of the food I run across at these cookouts are less than healthy, and as a Holistic Health Advisor and the owner of Adaptive Nourishment, I have a hard time justifying that much money spent on the type of food that doesn’t really do anything positive for my body. Therefore, I make a point to bring more nutrient dense food that still tastes great and has good presentation, yet didn’t cost me much to make or buy.

Here are excellent 4th of July cookout additions that can help your budget and your body feel much better after the holiday hangover is gone!

It’s All About the Chips

Okay, everyone knows and expects to find different types of chips and dips at a 4th of July party, right? So how about spicing things up a little bit with your chip choices. Instead of bringing the typical potato chip or tortilla chip, bring something a bit different.

There are so many options now for chips that are both healthier and taste great that it is hard to begin. Some of my favorites are Trader Joe’s Black Bean and Quinoa Chips , Trader Joe’s Veggie and Flaxseed ChipsGarden of Eatin Blue Chips and  Way Better Snacks Sweet Chili Chips. All four of these chips range from around $2.50 – $3.50 per bag, depending on where and when you purchase them and if you have a coupon or not. These have all been huge hits for me because they are not what people expected and they are delicious!

What About the Dip?

Now that you have some different chip options to work with, lets tackle the dip next. One of my favorites, for chips or to dip veggies in, is Trader Joe’s Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip. It is not only low in calories and carbs but high in Vitamin A & C. Plus it costs under $4 for the tub that serves 16! Another good option to bring is hummus since all of the aforementioned chips go fantastically well with it. There are many different flavors of hummus to choose from, but something like roasted red pepper hummus will keep within the red, white and blue theme of the festivities.

Popsicles

If you expect any children at the cookout, then homemade popsicles are always a crowd favorite. These are really easy to make, healthier than the store bought brands and pretty cheap too. Getting a variety of frozen fruit or fresh fruit from your local Farmer’s Market and then freezing it is the best way to start these. If you want to stick with the red, white and blue theme then you will need a variety of fruit.

For the red popsicles, I would suggest strawberries, raspberries and/or watermelon and sweetened vanilla almond milk. For the white popsicles, I would go with banana, coconut milk and sweetened vanilla almond milk. Lastly, for the blue popsicles I would choose blueberries and blackberries mixed with sweetened vanilla almond milk and possibly a touch of local honey.

Put everything in a blender and then freeze in popsicle molds until solid. We made our own out of fresh pineapple, frozen mixed berries and maracuya juice (which tastes similar to a passionfruit and mango combined). Not only did the kids love them but they only cost $.39 per serving!

Parfaits

These are a very easy and healthy option for cookouts and they can be extremely festive too! Vanilla Greek Yogurt, my favorite is Greek Gods Vanilla Honey, would be my suggestion due to the nutritional content alone, as well as the flavor. I prefer to buy the clear plastic cups in bulk and then 2 layers of vanilla greek yogurt, blueberries, gluten free granola and strawberries. If you want to stick with locally available fruits, then stop by your local Farmer’s Market towards the end of the day and see what they have. More often than not, and this is especially true with the smaller markets, they may be willing to give you a discount because they are trying to sell the rest of their produce to keep it from going bad.

 

Pot Luck

If you choose to host a 4th of July cookout, then you have much more on your plate than if you are merely a guest. The first thing that I always do when hosting is decide what dishes that I plan to make, including beverages. Once I have determined that aspect, I send out my invites and ask that everybody sign up to bring a dish. Sometimes I will pose which dishes I am looking for guests to bring and other times I will leave it up to them to tell me what they would like to bring. This immensely cuts down on costs from my perspective and it lets me see the creativity of my guests.

I hope that you found some good ideas to try from this post. I would love to hear your suggestions or things that you have tried this year that helped you cut down on costs while still keeping with integrity of the food choices.

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About the Author Shanah Bell

I am a business owner and single mother to two wonderful children. I was on food stamps for years and struggling financially to make ends meet. I was one of the early children diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the US and am a vegetarian. I have a Master's Degree in Nutrition and am a Holistic Health Advisor. My company is Adaptive Nourishment which helps to build healthier lives through dietary adaptation.

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