Hotdogs, burgers, beers—that's the Fourth of July for ya. And there's not a damn thing wrong with it, except they're not exactly healthy recipes. So if you're willing to break the holiday tradition in the name of health, fitness, or for the simple fact of doing something different—we've got a line-up of meals to try. The following meals have been introduced, shot, and prepared by Kristi Keating, a contributing expert to Men's Fitness and HUMANFITPROJECT.
THE FOOD LINE-UP
Breakfast: The Fourth of July Fruit Salad
Lunch: Quinoa Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Chickpeas
Dinner: Farmer's Market Thin-Crust Pizza
Dessert: Cherry and Peach Almond Popsicles
Snack: Choc-Coconut Parfait
Detox: Orange Turmeric Smoothie
THE FOURTH OF JULY FRUIT SALAD
Fresh fruits and veggies are a must if you don't want to jeopardize your fitness gains over the summer by eating too much barbecue and potato salad. Enjoying fresh, quality foods when they are at their peak for nutrition is among the most nurturing things you can do for yourself and others. Start your day with this healthy fruit-based breakfast to keep yourself from filling up on the bad stuff. And remember, whether you're enjoying breakfast with vegans or omnivores, almost everyone enjoys a festive fruit salad. (It also makes a great snack for a summer picnic!)
Makes about 6 servings (2 cups each)
8 cups chopped watermelon (1 inch pieces), 1 cup fresh blueberries, 2 cups whole strawberries, chopped, 2 medium bananas
Place all ingredients, except banana, into a serving bowl. Slice and add your banana right before serving so it doesn't turn brown. Mix well to combine. Serve with a garnish of mint leaves.
2 cup serving
Carbs: 28 g
Protein: 2 g
Fat: 0.50 g
Omega 3: 0.04 g
Fiber: 3 g
QUINOA LETTUCE WRAPS WITH SPICY CHICKPEAS
Just about any combination of raw veggies along with a few legumes and/or whole grain will do. However, with a bit of fresh herb and some spice, you can create outrageously tasty lettuce wraps like this recipe with raw cucumber, tomato, green onion, and basil. An exquisite array of textures and flavors to please any palate. This light and refreshing plant-powered meal is gluten-free, easy to prepare, and will make an excellent springtime lunch.
Makes 2 servings
6 large romaine leaves, 2 cups quinoa, 1 cup cucumber, diced, 1 cup tomato, diced, 1 cup zucchini, diced, ¼ cup green onions, diced, ¼ fresh basil, diced, 1 tbs fresh lemon juice, ½ tsp sea salt, 1 ½ cup Spicy Chickpeas (recipe below)
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and place about 1 cup serving into each large romaine leaf. Note: If using romaine hearts, (which have smaller leaves) just make 6 smaller wraps instead of 3 larger ones. Serve with a fresh pressed juice or fresh fruit salad. Enjoy.
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (or 15 oz can prepared), 2 tsp lemon juice, 2-3 tsp tamari (gluten free), 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp garlic granules, ½ tsp paprika
Place all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl, mix well to coat. Let sit for 8-10 minutes. Spread evenly onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and heat for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees (stir them once after 10 minutes). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing at room temperature in a sealed glass container for up to 5 days.
Carbs: 78 g
Protein: 20 g
Fat: 7 g
Omega 3: 0.34 g
Fiber: 17 g
FARMER'S MARKET THIN-CRUST PIZZA
Here is an easy-to-prepare pizza to ward off those greasy delivery pie cravings that sneak up when you're too tired to cook. By keeping a stash of brown rice tortillas, flatbreads, or pitas in your freezer, you always have a ready-to-go base for your homemade pizzas. Just whip up your homemade pizza sauce and cashew cheese spread ahead of time and your fresh pizzas can be ready in less than 10 minutes. This Farmers Market Thin Crust Pizza was made with a gluten free millet-flax lavash from Sami’s Bakery (samisbakery.com). It's a bit thicker than tortillas but not as ‘bready’ as a pita. It's the perfect base for your homemade thin-crust pizzas. Check it out.
Makes 1 serving (3 mini pizzas)
3 crusts (tortilla, flatbread or pitas), ¾ cup any pizza sauce (or use recipe below), 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped (we used yellow cherry tomatoes), ½ cup chopped red bell peppers, ½ cup finely sliced red onion, 6 fresh basil leaves, sliced, 6 kalamata olives, sliced, ¼ cup cashew cheese sauce (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread ¼ cup tomato sauce onto each crust and top with tomatoes, peppers and onions. Place into preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until edges of crust begin to brown. Keep a close eye on the crust so it doesn't burn. Remove from oven and place into a cutting board. Add the olives and fresh basil. Drizzle the cashew cheese sauce on top. Slice and serve.
PIZZA SAUCE RECIPE
Makes about (4) ¾ cup servings
1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, 1 (¼” slice) onion, 2 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp granules), 1 tbs dried basil, 1 tbs dried oregano, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp ground sage, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 2 dried dates, ½ tsp sea salt
Place ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend for about 30 seconds (if using a traditional blender, leave out the dried dates). Pour blended sauce into a medium sized saucepan, cover and bring to boil. Turn heat to low and simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes or until it reaches a thick, spreadable consistency. This sauce will keep for about 5 days in the fridge or you can freeze leftovers for up to 1 month.
CASHEW CHEESE SAUCE RECIPE
Makes about (4) ¼ cup servings
¾ cup water, ½ cup cashews, 1 tbs lemon juice, ¼ tsp sea salt, Pinch black pepper
Blend for about 30 seconds in a high-speed blender or until creamy. You may need to scrape down sides of container once to ensure that everything is getting blended (if using a traditional blender, soak cashews for at least 2 hours to soften). Store in a squeeze bottle in the fridge for about 5 days. Can be used as a sauce for wraps and sandwiches, as a topping for chili and curries, or as a salad dressing.
2 pizzas (using millet-flax lavash as crust)
Carbs: 116 grams
Protein: 20 grams
Fat: 19 grams
Omega 3: 1.48 grams
Fiber: 16 grams
CHERRY and PEACH ALMOND POPSICLES
Here is a quick and simple recipe for fruit-based popsicles made with only 5 ingredients. It's super delicious, easy to make and a perfect treat for those hot summer days when you want to kick your feet up and relax. This recipe starts with almond milk that is sweetened with dates and flavored with vanilla, bringing a depth of flavor to these healthy pops. The dark-colored fruits pair perfectly with the sweet almond cream, adding a creative flare to take things to the next level. Kids love them, adults love them, and we love them. So, make yourself up a batch. You just might love’em, too.
Makes about 8 servings
2 cups fresh almond milk (recipe below) or any store bought nut milk, 1 ripe banana, ½ cup dried dates, pits removed, ½ cup seeded and chopped cherries, 1 peach, chopped
Blend the milk, banana and dates together in a high-speed blender (like a vitamix or blend-tec) until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and divide the chopped cherries and peaches among each mold. Freeze overnight or at least for 2 hours before serving. Makes about 8 standard size popsicles.
Carbs: 18 g
Protein: 3 g
Fat: 4.5 g
Omega 3: 0.01 g
Fiber: 3 g
These plant-based parfaits are elegant, tasty, and easy to make. The combination of chocolate pudding and coconut yogurt make this healthy dessert deliciously rich. You can keep it minimal and streamlined by serving this parfait ‘as is’ or jazz it up with a layer of berries and granola. If you’re heading to any potlucks or barbecues, these dairy-free parfaits can substitute as a healthier dessert option. If you're looking for an easy way to keep your pudding chilled at outdoor parties, order yourself a set of these double wall tea glasses from zwilling.com (shown in photo). They'll keep your chilled desserts cool for much longer compared to regular glassware which make them a perfect choice for summer parties.
Makes 4 servings
2 cups organic coconut yogurt (we used coconut grove - found in Whole Foods Market), 1 batch of chocolate pudding (recipe below), 1 sliced strawberry, for garnish
Place about ⅓ cup chocolate pudding into the bottom of each glass, add ½ cup coconut yogurt and another ⅓ cup pudding. Garnish with strawberry slice. Serve chilled.
CHOCOLATE PUDDING INGREDIENTS
4 ripe bananas, ½ cup cashews, ½ cup dried dates (pits removed), ⅓ cup cacao powder (or carob powder), ½ cup plain quick oats, ¼ tsp vanilla flavoring, Pinch of sea salt
Blend ingredients in a high-speed blender (like a vitamix or blend-tec) until silky smooth. Note: you will need the tamper tool to press the ingredients down into the blades until it catches (remember to keep lid on when using tamper). Place pudding into a sealed glass container and let cool in the fridge (to thicken) for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.
(with ⅔ cup pudding and ½ cup coconut yogurt)
Carbs: 66 g
Protein: 8 g
Fat: 9 g
Omega 3: 0.05 g
Fiber: 10 g
ORANGE TURMERIC SMOOTHIE
This refreshing smoothie provides a solid hit of vitamin C, omega 3’s, and fiber to help your body cleanse. It goes down smooth and gives a big boom of citrus flavor right at the first sip. The added turmeric root delivers anti-inflammatory benefits and assists in elevating the body's liver detoxification enzymes to help aid the cleansing process. This simple combination of fresh whole foods can help boost your immune system and hydrate you.
Makes 1 serving
2 oranges, peeled, 2 bananas, 1 tbsp hemp seeds, ½ inch chunk fresh turmeric (or ¼ tsp ground), ½ cup filtered water, ½ cup ice, optional, Pinch black pepper, optional (see note below)
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth (about 30-45 seconds). Pour into a tall glass and enjoy.
NOTE: Curcumin is the active component in turmeric that is responsible for decreasing inflammation and stimulating the body's antioxidant mechanisms. However, the curcumin gets converted by enzymes (sulfotransferase, UGT, p450) that line the GI tract, making it bio-unavailable.
A flavonoid (quercetin), found in apples and oranges, inhibits sulfotransferase enzymes from inactivating the curcumin. The piperine found in black pepper inhibits the UGT and p450 enzymes from doing the same. So blend your turmeric with apples, citrus, or other foods high in quercetin and a pinch of black pepper.
Carbs: 92 g
Protein: 8 g
Fat: 5 g
Omega 3: 0.80 g
Fiber: 15 g