With 4th of July right around the corner, everyone is getting ready to celebrate their independence with a backyard barbecue. Discover the freedom of eating healthy foods that don’t make you feel guilty or have a negative impact on your health. Plan the perfect 4th of July BBQ when you have diabetes, with everything from tasty snacks to tantalizing desserts.

BBQ Options for Diabetes

Many of the 4th of July food options at traditional barbecues are not particularly diabetes-friendly. Fortunately, you can bring your own goodies or plan a healthy BBQ everyone is sure to enjoy. Remember to keep your focus on friends, family and fun rather than food. Eat a regular meal 4-5 hours before the barbecue to avoid binge eating. You can’t save or collect carbohydrates for the next meal. Get moving during the party with a game of backyard volleyball, badminton or catch. Serve a variety of snacks, meal options and desserts that are yummy and won’t make your blood sugar climb. Take a walk with a few people after the meal is over.

The Best Snacks – Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Greasy, salty chips, sugar-filled cookies and mayonnaise-laden salads are not the best way to begin a barbecue. Serve a bowl of finger fruits such as grapes, berries and cherries. Put out a vegetable platter that includes celery sticks, carrot sticks, cauliflower and broccoli with Walden Farms fat-free, sugar-free dressings for dipping. Serve a big salad with mixed greens, spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices and carrot shavings tossed with a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Create a tray with whole grain crackers, thin slices of low-fat cheese and hummus. When you prepare salads mix them with mustard, olive oil, plain Greek yogurt or fat free mayonnaise. Leave out the salt and add flavorful herbs including garlic powder, fresh or dried rosemary, dill and basil. Serve sweet potatoes and whole grain pasta rather than mashed potatoes and white pasta.

Grilling Lean Meats

4th of July BBQGrilling is a low-fat cooking method that is ideal for your diabetic meal plan. Do not choose fried chicken, hot dogs and other processed meats. Grab vegetables, chicken, lean beef or turkey burgers, grilled fish and grilled turkey or chicken breasts. Make kabobs with chunks of grilled chicken, red or green peppers, cherry tomatoes, corn, red potatoes and pineapples. Grill thin slices of lean steak or pork and serve with tomatoes, low-fat mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprig of basil. Top off burgers with tomato, arugula, avocado and cucumber slices rather than unhealthy processed cheese. Use whole or multi-grain buns, thin sandwich pockets or whole wheat pita bread.

Some Healthy Side-Dish Options

There are plenty of healthy options for side dishes. Grill vegetables such as red peppers, green peppers, green beans, broccoli, tomatoes and Portobello mushrooms seasoned with mixed herbs. Serve them on a platter or wrap them on a whole grain tortilla with some salsa. Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake them on the grill. Mix quinoa, wild or brown rice with a dash of olive oil, powdered garlic, slivered red peppers and sliced black olives for a mouthwatering side dish without any guilt.

Sugar-Free Dessert Ideas

Desserts can also be part of your annual 4th of July barbecue. Make a mold using sugar-free cherry or strawberry gelatin. Serve it with blueberries and low-fat, sugar-free whipped creams for a red, white and blue sweet treat. Put out a platter with squares of dark chocolate and slivered almonds. Eat in portion sizes. Make low-fat muffins using a sugar substitute, such as Stevia or Splenda, and almond or coconut flour rather than white flour.

Ideal Beverages

Beverages are also an important part of a successful 4th of July barbecue. Put out coolers with bottled water, including sugar-free flavored and sparkling water. Add a bucket with sugar-free soda, diet Snapple tea or crystal light drinks. Keep your alcohol intake to a minimum – which means one drink for women and two for men. Serve light beer and make wine spritzers mixed with sparkling water and topped off with a slice of lemon or lime. If you serve cocktails, mix them with water, seltzer or diet soda.

This irresistible 4th of July barbecue menu is diabetes-friendly and sure to please your most discerning guests. Eating healthy foods can be delicious and helps prevent your blood sugar levels from extreme highs or lows. After all, healthy options can be flavorful, too!

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