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This hydrating sweet treat is the quintessential healthy food of summer. Its luscious red color comes from lycopene, which is a cancer-fighting antioxidant.1 Fun fact: There’s more lycopene in watermelon than there is in tomatoes!1 Cut up a seedless melon into cubes and present it to your guests on a bed of baby greens. Top with a little crumbled feta (1 tablespoon per serving if your goals include weight loss) and chopped mint for a refreshing and light salad. Reserve some of the juice when you’re cutting up the melon to toss with the greens and you won’t even need another dressing.
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Juicy red tomatoes are sure to appear at any July Fourth shindig, and like watermelon, they are a rich source of lycopene.1 Pair your tomatoes with a little healthy fat like a teaspoon of olive oil or a quarter of an avocado to increase your body’s ability to absorb it.2 Find some heirloom varieties and use all different colors (red, orange, green and yellow) on a bed of zingy, crowd-pleasing arugula and chopped basil. Drizzle your salad with balsamic vinegar for an extra boost of flavor.
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Spicy and crisp, radishes deliver vitamins and minerals that may support vascular health and prevent gallstones.3 Top a kale salad with radishes and other veggies to add a great crunch and a subtle heat. Make a fresh kale salad by pulsing chopped kale in a food processor with a splash of red vinegar, black pepper and your favorite spices. Slice radishes and colorful veggies into rounds (think carrots, zucchini and summer squash). Cut a few of the thickest radish rounds into stars and place them on the top of the salad for a festive touch.
Photo by Anna Shepulova on Shutterstock
There’s some versatility with the color of this vegetable, depending on how white or red you want it to be. Cabbage also delivers a fantastic crunch along with lots of fiber and may help reduce inflammation.4 It’s super tasty with some Asian-inspired flavors like rice wine vinegar, carrots, pickled ginger and cucumbers.
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This mild, crisp root vegetable is packed with inulin, a prebiotic fiber that’s good for gut health.5 This type of fiber may help boost the amounts of good bacteria in the digestive system.6 Peel the tough brown skin off the jicama and slice it into thick spears. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and sprinkle the spears with chili powder and for a colorful and delicious snack. Pro tip: This chili/lime combo works well on watermelon, too!
Photo by Alik Mulikov on Shutterstock
These sweet, tart summer fruits are a nutritious choice for your July Fourth festivities. Filled with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber, eating berries may help protect against cardiovascular disease.7 Blueberries can make any salad instantly festive. Or, go the sweet route with this delectable presentation: layer blueberries and raspberries with nonfat cottage cheese or unsweetened, nonfat yogurt for a healthy red, white and blue parfait.
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Lacinato and Red Russian kale varieties boast a dark blue-green color, making them a must for a healthy July Fourth holiday. This superfood is an antioxidant powerhouse and has lots of calcium and iron that may support your bone and blood health, respectively.8 Instead of serving potato chips, make kale chips — you’ll be surprised how excited your friends and family are to eat them!
Use this simple and healthy recipe to make crispy kale chips everyone will enjoy!
- 1 head of kale, washed and dried
- ½ lemon
- Your favorite spices to taste
- Preheat your oven to 300 F.
- Remove the tough stalks and rip the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces.
Squeeze the juice of half a fresh lemon over the kale and “massage” it by scrunching the leaves in your palms.
- Spread the kale in one even layer on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet (don’t cook too much at once or the kale won’t dry up into “chips”).
- Sprinkle on your favorite spices. Garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, chili powder and cayenne pepper are all great options!
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until crispy.
- Flip the kale chips over halfway through the cooking time and keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
- Let cool and enjoy!
When it’s time to celebrate Independence Day, you’ll have the most festive foods around — and the best part: they won’t derail your healthy eating habits. Ready to try a weight loss plan that fits your lifestyle? Learn more about how Jenny Craig can support your health goals!
Nicki is a journalist with expertise in healthy eating and exercise. She is the former editor-in-chief of Competitor Running and managing editor of Women's Running magazines and writes articles and crafts recipes for a variety of websites and publications. She also loves cycling, making music and is wild about cats, dogs and other animals.
Favorite healthy snack: anything with nut butter!
Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.
Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)
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