A 4th of July with vegetables and fruits

Independence Day (July 4) is shared with a typical outdoor barbecue, with friends or family. The main menu is usually barbecue meats, hamburgers and sausages. But there are alternatives to supplement protein with nutritious and delicious foods.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) gives some rules for eating outdoors on this day of patriotic celebration. In the first place, it is advisable to find a place with some shade so as not to expose the skin or food to the sun, especially at midday, when the rays are most harmful.

If it is a very hot day, with a temperature above 90ºF (32ºC), perishable foods should not remain more than one hour without refrigeration. Otherwise, the proliferation of dangerous bacteria that can make you sick is favored.

It’s a good idea to have a cooler or cooler with enough ice to keep food below 40ºF (4.4ºC). There, raw foods should be kept separate from those that are ready to eat, to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.

The menu

The ADA suggests starting your low-calorie barbecue with a picada made up of carrot and cucumber sticks, bell pepper strips, jicama rolls, and cauliflower clusters. They can be accompanied with a homemade guacamole or a dip low-fat white cheese with chopped olives, soy sauce, preferably low-sodium, or a spicy dressing.

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Grilled chicken legs or breasts can be served as a main dish, which you can have previously marinated in a low-sodium spicy sauce. They can be accompanied with a portion of couscous or humus. If you prefer sandwiches or burgers, choose a bread made with whole grains, as it is higher in fiber. You can fill them with cooked, cold and shredded chicken, tuna or turkey, low-fat cheese and roasted vegetables.

Avoid sodas since, in addition to being loaded with sugar, they only increase your thirst on that hot day in July. Choose diet soda or make a pitcher of lemonade or iced tea with sweetener, a little sugar, and a few mint leaves.

For dessert, the “angel cake” is a good option with few calories. If you don’t want to cook, there are ready-to-go alternatives, like the Sarah Lee, which provides 130 calories per 28-gram serving. You can decorate it with red fruits typical of this date, or a fruit syrup prepared with little sugar.

And at the time of the fireworks…

  • Never let young children play or light fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper as this may be a sign that they were made for professional displays.
    • An adult should always be closely supervising fireworks activities if older children are allowed to operate the fireworks. The sparklers or sparklers burn at a temperature of about 2,000 degrees F °, enough to melt even metals.
      • Never put a part of your body directly over a device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after turning them on.
        • Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that haven’t fully lit.
          • Light the fireworks one by one and then quickly back off.
            • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
              • Never aim or throw fireworks at another person.
                • Have a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of a fire or other mishap.
                  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them in metal or glass containers.
                    • After the fireworks burn completely, please spray the used device with plenty of water before disposing of the device, to avoid fire in the garbage.
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