Fitness on the 4th: Healthy 4th of July Tips, Hacks and Recipes

You guys, the 4th of July is upon us! That means fireworks, parades, fun with friends and family, and of course barbecues!

Typical Independence Day food includes yummy barbeque favorites and ice cold treats to cool you off while you’re having fun in the sun!

While it’s great to enjoy fun holidays and the food that comes along with them, it’s also important to be careful.

These foods are okay once in a while, but too much of them can get in the way of reaching your fitness goals!

You guys know that I’m definitely an advocate for cheat meals.

But to make sure that your 4th of July cheat meal doesn’t turn into a cheat day, check out my favorite tips, hacks, and recipes!

Healthy BBQ Swaps & Tips

Those tempting and scrumptious barbecue delicacies are definitely super delicious. Sadly however, they aren’t the healthiest options.

It is totally possible to enjoy the foods at your get together without going overboard though!

If you’re wanting to enjoy the BBQ while still being health-conscious, consider making the following adjustments.

Naked burger

Skip the Bun

If you’re having hamburgers, hot dogs, or any meat that’s usually served on a bun, and are wanting to limit your carbs, opt to go bun-free.

Instead, you can wrap the burger or dog in lettuce leaves, or just eat it plain with a knife and fork. This will eliminate a handful of simple carbs from your meal.

Avoid the sauces on the 4th july

Beware of Sauces

Sauces can add SO much delicious flavor, but they can also be a secret dangerous pitfall for the fitness conscious.

They may seem innocent enough, but more often than not they hide a load of sugar, fat, or both, and these calories need to be accounted for!

I suggest that you stick to one of the few low-calorie options, such as mustard, or bring a sauce from home that you approve of.

Beware of empty calories in drinks

Be Wary of Liquid Calories

Alcohol and sugary drinks like soda and juice are often referred to as “empty calories”.

That’s because they’re surprisingly calorie dense, but virtually all the calories come from sugar and don’t really do your body much good.

You can avoid these empty calories by drinking water instead, but if you want something a little more exciting, a sugar-free water enhancer can be a great option!

Consider the following alternatives:

-Stevia Sweetened Sodas

-Lemon Water

IdealLean BCAAs

-Any Sugar-Free Flavored Water

4th July Diet Tips

Don’t Go Crazy with the Sides

If you’re like me, you love those yummy barbecue sides like potato salad, baked beans, jello, and the list goes on!

It can be easy to sometimes feel like the calories in side dishes are somehow exempt from our daily total though, as if they don’t count for some reason.

Sadly they do of course, and some of those sides are actually super high in calories! That’s why it’s important to use discretion and not overdo it.

Go heavy on the veggies

Go Heavy on the Veggies & Side Salad

Most barbecues include a nice offering of salads and veggie dishes.

Try to avoid those that are doused in high-sugar dressings, and eat your fill of the ones that aren’t!

Salads are also usually super low-calorie and are a great dish to fill up on!

Chicken protein

Target High-Protein Food

Take advantage of the plentiful protein sources available at your get together!

There’s sure to be a mile-high pile of different meats, which can make reaching your daily protein goal a breeze.

Lean meats like chicken or fish are better, and as with salads and veggie dishes, pay attention to how the meats are cooked and what sauces they’re topped with.

Healthy 4th of July Recipes

In addition to the tips, check out these healthy 4th of July recipes to help you own your nutrition this Independence Day!

Red, White & Blue Breakfast


Serves 1. Calories: 243, Fat: 8g, Carbs: 30g, Protein: 17g


  • 3 tbsp. non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. almond butter
  • 2 tbsp. French Vanilla IdealLean Protein
  • 2 strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. sliced almonds
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla (100 calories or less)


  1. Mix together the yogurt, almond butter, and protein until smooth. Spread over tortilla, and top with berries and almonds. Roll up and enjoy! Great for on the go!

Barbeque Chicken

Barbeque Chicken

Serves 7. Calories per serving: 120, Protein: 26g, Carbs: 3g, Fat: 1g


  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 c low-calorie bbq sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Mix chicken with minced garlic, bbq sauce, salt, and pepper, and let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
  4. Separate marinated chicken pieces evenly into 7 groups and slide onto wooden skewers.
  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Flip skewers halfway through cook time to ensure chicken is cooked thoroughly. Makes approximately 7 kabobs.

 Patriotic Dessert

Patriotic Dessert

Serves 1. Calories: 263, Protein: 26g, Carbs: 34g, Fat: 2g



  1. Stir together the Greek yogurt and protein powder until smooth and combined. To assemble the parfait, layer in a glass the cooked oatmeal first, then the yogurt mixture, and finish with mixed berries! Enjoy!

4th of July Salad

4th July Salad

Serves 1. Calories per serving: 310 / Protein 36g / Carbs 28g / Fat 6g


  • 2 c mixed salad greens
  • 1/4 c fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 c fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 4 oz shredded chicken
  • 1/2 c cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp. vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing


  1. Toss all ingredients except dressing together. Pack into Tupperware, keeping the dressing separate. Toss with dressing when ready to eat. Enjoy!

Enjoy Your 4th July!

Life is all about balance, and it’s important to have fun and enjoy the little things, like fun holidays!

But while you’re having fun in the sun, watching fireworks, and enjoying your independence this 4th of July, keep in mind the fitness goals that you’ve been working hard to achieve.

Own your nutrition, own your fitness, and own your day!

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Lindsey Mathews

Lindsey Mathews

Head Trainer & Nutritionist

Lindsey Mathews is the Head Trainer and Nutritionist at IdealFit. She is a NSCA-CSCS certified personal trainer, C-ISSN certified sports nutritionist, Pn. 1 certified nutrition coach, and a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor. Before joining IdealFit, she ran the largest boot camp program in Utah County.

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