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You can have a plant-based Fourth of July

When you imagine the 4th of July, what do you picture? Most likely, lots of fireworks, BBQ’s, picnics, and days spent outdoors with lots of snacks and goodies. Like many of us, I bet a lot of your 4th of July preparation and celebration centers around food and what dish you plan to bring to the gathering.

Planning your dish may seem like a simple enough task for many; but, for those on a plant-based diet, navigating and attending these events and celebrations can be quite frustrating and disappointing. But it doesn’t have to be!

Dr. Vikki Petersen, certified clinical nutritionist, chiropractor and functional medicine doctor, highlights how those on plant-based diets can make any holiday or event a little easier:

“Holidays often have traditional meals associated with them that are nostalgic and bring back happy memories of family and friends. If you focus on the friendship, love and camaraderie that holidays engender then maintaining a healthy, while delicious, diet is easier. Instead of focusing on what you cannot eat, enjoy healthy versions of what you can. You’ll find out that friends and family will enjoy what you provide as well (sometimes better than the traditional fare)” says Dr. Vikki Petersen.

Here are Dr. Vikki Petersen’s top 5 plant-based 4th of July dishes that’ll have even the meat-lovers going back for seconds:

Idea #1: Chili

A robust bean chili, with an optional “meat” such as Beyond Meat “burger” or Quorn meatless pieces, is a great addition to your July 4th celebration. A flavorful chili can be served hot or cold and the “meat” portion will go unnoticed as plant-based.

Idea #2: Potato salad

Potato salad is always a staple at picnics and is extremely easy to make plant-based. A simple switch to egg-free vegan mayonnaise is all that it takes. A nice benefit to cooking and then cooling potatoes is that it brings out their resistant starch, a great source of fuel for your microbiome, that won’t leave you craving sweets.

Idea #3: Fruit salad

Fruit salad is a great summertime favorite that is always plant-based. Use “special” fruits that help prevent sunburn for an added benefit on those hot summer days. Lycopene-rich fruits with natural sun protection include watermelon, guava, papaya and pink grapefruit.

Idea #4: Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad topped with summer cherry tomatoes, shredded red cabbage, red onion (or green onion), pea pods, red or yellow peppers, avocado, black or garbanzo beans, and a vinaigrette of your choice. The more veggies you add the better and the more delicious!

Idea #5: Plant-based burgers

These can be made from a variety of ingredients or purchased in your grocery store. I always prefer fresh, so consider putting them together the night before and then forming the “meat” into burger patties on your way to your barbeque. If you do not have a designated grill you feel comfortable with, just cook them at home before you leave. Top with a plant-based “cheese”, grilled onions, avocado and more. The base of your burger can be black beans, quinoa, tofu or a combination or ingredients, including nuts.


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