What comes to mind when someone says “4th of July”? Do you picture an American flag, fireworks, or hanging out with family and friends? How about grilling and sipping on a cold beverage? July is a perfect time to take advantage of local, healthy options for your holiday party, as there are plenty delicious summer fruits and veggies available that won’t weigh you down or ruin a healthy eating plan.

This post is being re-published with permission from our fantastic sponsors at Meriter & Physicians Plus.  To see the original article by amazing Dietician Krista Kohls, click here.

If you will be grilling for the Fourth think lean proteins (chicken, fish, lean red meat) or you could try something vegetarian. Black bean burgers are not only easy and delicious but healthy as well! For dessert, try grilling peaches or pineapple for a sweet treat!

If you’ve been asked to bring over a side dish for a get together try bringing a lettuce or fruit salad instead of high fat potato salad or baked beans. Adding strawberries to a lettuce salad with walnuts and some Parmesan cheese is a fresh and easy way to take advantage of the seasons’ delicious produce. Or simply bringing a fruit salad (or melon kebabs) with fresh squeezed lime juice and chopped mint to add a twist to a sweet summer side dish. Including fresh, healthy foods this holiday season will not only help your waistline – you will feel good too…maybe even good enough for a trip down the slip and slide!

Black Bean Burgers
4 servings

1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs


  1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
  3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
  5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
  6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

Per burger: 162 calories, 0.5 g sat fat, 28 g carb, 9 g protein
Recipe compliments of Allrecipes.com

Lettuce Salad with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
Lettuce – spring mix or red leaf or spinach
¼ – 1/2 cup walnuts*
1/2-1 cup strawberries*
1/8 – 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese*
Dressing (makes enough for more than one salad)
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. onion
2/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

*Adjust ingredients based on size of salad.*

  1. For the dressing, put all ingredients (except poppy seeds) in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add in poppy seeds after food processing is done.
  2. Combine lettuce, walnuts, strawberries, grated Parmesan and toss with enough salad dressing to coat the lettuce (the dressing recipe makes enough for more than one salad – keep leftovers in a jar in the fridge).

Melon Salad with Lime and Mint
Makes at least 8 servings

1 cantalope – halved, seeded, peeled, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 honeydew melon – halved, seeded, peeled, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1/2 watermelon – halved, peeled, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. grated lime peel

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until the lime and mint have coated the melon.