4 Recipes to Help “Declare Independence” From Junk Food

For me, my family and my friends, a traditional July 4th cookout every year is a must. Though many holidays can often lead to unhealthy food options, your July 4th celebration doesn’t have to weigh you down. Here are four recipes for the fourth that focus on fruits, veggies and dairy. These recipes are perfect for impressing your foodie friends, but are tasty enough for everyone! 

1. Salad in a Jar

This salad is super refreshing and easy to make your own. I love this recipe because it’s practically an art project. Grab your kids and build this fun, colorful salad that doesn’t require much cleanup. Mason jars add such a nostalgic touch, right? Takes me right back to days in my grandma’s kitchen. 

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2. Grilled Herb Vegetables

Now, these aren’t your normal, plain-Jane veggies. This side marinates in a variety of herbs, gets a great char from the grill, and is topped with ooey-gooey cheese. Once again, this recipe is super customizable to your guests’ palates. Portobello mushrooms, jalapeños, and poblano peppers would all be a fabulous addition as well! Bottom line: Veggies can be a tasty staple to every meal (especially when topped with cheese!). 

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3. Grilled Fruit with Vanilla Sauce

Who said fruit for dessert can’t be decadent? Trust me, it’s sure to impress. I chose to half some peaches and save the mint for garnishing. I also topped my fruit with blackberries and raspberries to add to my red, white and blue theme. Believe me when I say that this recipe will now be my summertime staple! It turned out beautifully; who wouldn’t want to eat this? 

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One thing to note: Because I chose to use a store-bought whipped cream, the sauce didn’t thicken like it usually does. If you make your own whipped cream, the sauce will be thicker. I didn’t mind mine having a more “runny” texture, as it was still packed with flavor and looked pretty drizzled on. If you’re looking to dip your fruit instead, you might try making your own. 

4. Black Bean Salsa Sliders

Never have I had a veggie burger patty hold as well as these. You might choose to turn up the heat by adding minced jalapeño to the bean mixture. I also topped my sliders with small slices of pepper jack cheese (I literally just cut a full slice into four) instead of adding shredded cheese to the mixture. This recipe is simple and has a zesty flavor. Cue mouthwatering goodness! 

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In no time at all, I had four July 4th dishes that my foodie friends will love! All of these were light, packed with tons of flavor and, most importantly, SIMPLE to make. Enjoy! 

Filming and Editing by Sean Ryan
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

By Sarah Ryan, MS, RDN, LD

Sarah is a registered dietitian nutritionist and foodie. She has a special interest in sports nutrition and is certified in food allergy training. When she isn't working, you can find her in the kitchen baking delicious cakes and beautiful pies. Learn more about Sarah

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