Every year, one of my favorite memories of the summer is celebrating the Fourth of July. On top of getting to spend the day in the sun with my friends and family, it gives me a chance to do one of my favorite things… eat!
When I think back on all yummy food I get to enjoy on the Fourth, I find that my favorite part is always the side dishes. The problem is, between all of the fattening mayonnaise and carb-loaded potato and pasta salads, it can be really difficult to stick to my diet. After last year’s calorie fest, I made a pledge to create some guilt-free side dishes that won’t sacrifice any of the flavors and fun I’m used to.
These are the three slimming sides I’m going to serve at my Fourth of July festivities.
Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad
This recipe has to be one of the easiest salads you can make. It’s totally raw and packed with tons of flavor.
Combine two diced avocados with kernels cut from one ear of fresh corn, one diced tomato, one pressed garlic clove, and juice from half a lime in a bowl. Combine well, chill for an hour, and serve.
Quinoa Fruit Salad
I love anything with quinoa. This super seed is packed with protein and is completely gluten-free. To make it fun for the Fourth of July, make it red, white, and blue! This year I will add blueberries, strawberries, and slivered almonds. I also like to stir in some mango, fresh mint, olive oil, and a touch of rice wine vinegar.
Crispy Lemon Kale Chips
If you haven’t tried kale chips before, you’re truly missing out. These crispy chips aren’t just incredibly delicious; they’re also made with one healthiest vegetables on earth. Kale is low in calories, high in fiber, and has absolutely no fat at all.
Tear apart washed (but completely dry) kale, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and bake on a cooling rack at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Top with sea salt and serve.
If you’re worried about overindulging this Fourth, pair these delicious sides with a bunless burger or hot dog and you’re on your way to a totally guilt-free holiday celebration!
Photos courtesy of Erica Eckman
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