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July 4 Tips

Article written by Melissa Karlheim, PA NEN Nutrition Intern, and reviewed by Registered Dietitian, Amanda Frankeny

News feature by ABC 27

Healthy-for-You Tips for the Holiday

Think outside the bun: try whole wheat or whole grain buns, small 6 to 8-inch tortillas for tacos, lettuce or cabbage wraps, or top a salad with the BBQ meats.

Try leaner cuts of meat, and punch up the flavor: “Leaner” doesn’t mean less flavor. Start with ground turkey breast burgers, chicken breasts, pork chops or tenderloin, flank steak, shrimp, and other seafood. Marinate it with your favorite mix of spices, herbs and sauces. Baste the meat, or brush with BBQ sauce while cooking. As a final means to add some tang, serve meat with a topping of reserved marinade (that hasn’t touched the meat), spicy sauces, or fresh salsas.

Fire up the grill for produce:  Marinate vegetables. Add them to kabobs or grill as a side - mushrooms, asparagus or corn are delicious this way! Fruit caramelizes over fire. Roast pineapples, plums, and peaches with a brush of honey for an amped-up dessert.

Veg out: Change up your classic sides by loading them with vegetables. Potato salad with carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes make color pop and give some crunch!

To stop folks from skipping a meal ahead of time, I’m just going to briefly touch on how our bodies work. When we starve ourselves, biology kicks in. We start craving poorer food choices. When people go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, research shows that we don’t buy more, we buy worse…aka foods with more fat, sugar, and everything delicious.

Simple, Delicious Recipe Swaps

Onto broccoli salad with some ingredient swaps. The first recipe below is our healthy alternative with extra protein and fewer calories than the second option, a classic broccoli salad with mayo. 

Greek Yogurt Broccoli Salad

  • 3 small heads broccoli (cut into bite-sized florets)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 15-20 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds (or walnuts)
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup bacon (crumbled)
  • ½ cup and 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)


1) Add vegetables, seeds, bacon, and cheddar cheese into a large bowl
2) In a smaller bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, mayo, sugar and vinegar.
3) Add dressing to broccoli mix. Toss to coat all vegetables.
4) If needed, add salt and pepper to taste.


225 calories and 5 grams protein per serving

Based on: 

What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl's Broccoli Salad

For Comparison: Your Typical Broccoli Salad: 

  • 6 cups broccoli florets (about 1 pound)
  • ¼ cup red onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup peas (frozen, thawed, or fresh peas)
  • ½ cup almonds (toasted slivered)
  • ½ cup bacon (crumbled)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey 
  • 1 teaspoon salt


1) Add vegetables, nuts, and bacon into a large bowl
2) In a smaller bowl, whisk together mayo, honey and vinegar.
3) Add dressing to broccoli mix. Toss to coat all vegetables.
4) Finish with salt.


370 calories and 3 grams protein per serving

Huge thank you for ABC27 and Amanda Peterson for the Healthy Living segment feature!