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Fun & Festive 4th of July Recipes!

Fourth of July often means parties, delicious spreads of food, and a fun time outside with family and friends. As fun as parties like these can be, for many gymnasts, these types of events can also bring some stress and anxiety, as parties typically mean different and unpredictable food choices.

Many gymnasts struggle with an all-or-nothing mindset at events like these (where you HAVE to either eat completely "good" and deprive yourself of foods you want to try OR are entirely relaxed and eat anything and everything you want but feel out of control and guilty).

Many gymnasts that have a positive and healthy relationship with all foods are able to be successful at these types of events because they find a middle ground, where they know they can incorporate both nutrient dense foods and fun foods on their plate. There's no such thing as "perfect nutrition" and finding this middle ground instead of an all-or-nothing mindset allows you to enjoy the foods you want while sticking to your fueling plan.

Remember that ANY food can be fuel for your body, and no food is off limits for gymnasts. At a barbecue or party, you can still use your Athlete's Plate as a guide, to fuel your body even at an event.

At your 4th of July party you can try to think about building your plate with:

1/4 to 1/3 of your plate from protein

  • Barbecues usually mean grilling so there are typically tons of protein options such as burgers, hotdogs, grilled chicken, steaks, kebobs, veggie burgers, shrimp, salmon and more!

1/4 to 1/3 of your plate from grains and starches

  • Barbecue staples that have starches include pasta salad, potato salad, buns, rolls, cornbread, and more!

1/3 to 1/2 of your plate from color

  • Don’t forget to add some colorful fruits and veggies to your plate! Dishes like corn, coleslaw, grilled veggies, salads, fresh fruit, fruit popsicles, and more are super fresh and delicious this time of year!

1/4 (or whatever feels right to you) of your plate with fun foods!

  • 4th of July parties typically have a lot of red white and blue themed desserts to choose from and enjoy.

Don’t forget…. nutrition (like gymnastics) is all about balance. Don’t stress out about the food, and focus on having a good time with your family and friends.


Looking for some fun and festive recipes to have at your 4th of July Party?

Here are some ideas for you!

Cowboy Caviar

I don’t know about you, but I have been seeing different variations of recipes for this dish all over social media. This easy dish combines different beans and vegetables into a yummy refreshing dip that you can dip tortilla chips into (or anything you'd like!).


  • 1 red bell pepper

  • 1 orange bell pepper

  • 1.5 cups of sweetcorn

  • Half a red onion

  • 2 jalapeños

  • 1 can of rinsed black beans

  • 1 can rinsed pinto beans

  • 1 container of feta

  • 1 cup of black olives

  • Cilantro


  • Juice of 3 limes

  • Half cup of olive oil

  • Quarter cup of white wine vinegar

  • 2-3 tablespoons of taco seasoning

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 2-4 tablespoons of spicy honey

  • 3 tablespoons of sugar


  1. Chop the peppers and onions. Drain and rinse the cans

  2. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Whisk to combine

  3. Combine the peppers, onions, beans, corn, olives, feta, and cilantro into a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat

Recipe inspired by Bria!

Red White and Blueberry Fruit Salad

With summer fruit salad, anything goes! You can choose to follow a recipe or just pick red white and blue fruits and combine them for a colorful, refreshing, and patriotic fruit salad!


  • 2 cups watermelon cubes or balls

  • 1 pint blueberries

  • 16 ounces strawberries (hull and halved)

  • 2 Granny Smith apples (sliced and cut into stars)

  • 1 white dragon fruit (cut into cubes or balls )

Honey Lime Dressing

  • 1 lime (juice and zest)

  • 1/4 honey


  1. Wash all your fruit.

  2. Cut the watermelon in half and dice or ball 2 cups worth. Toss in a large bowl.

  3. Add a pint of blueberries to bowl.

  4. Hull and cut strawberries into halves. Add to bowl.

  5. Cut the apples into slices. Do not remove core, just right through. Use a small star shaped cookie cutter to cut stars working around the core. Toss stars into bowl.

  6. Cut dragon fruit in half. Dice or use a melon baller and place chunks into bowl.

  7. In a small bowl, whisk together honey and the juice from 1 lime. Zest the entire lime and mix in.

  8. Add the honey lime dressing and mix ingredients together.

Recipe inspired by Cooking with Amber!

Summer Panzanella

Right now basil, tomatoes, zucchini and onions are ripe and in season! This salad is the perfect side dish to bring to your fourth of July party!


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • 2 3/4"-thick slices country bread

  • 1 medium zucchini

  • ½ large red onion cut into 4 wedges

  • Kosher salt

  • Black Pepper

  • 1 glove garlic, minced

  • 1 cup cubed fresh mozzarella cheese

  • 4 cups diced cherry tomatoes

  • ½ cup fresh basil, torn into bite sized pieces

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

  • Balsamic glaze


  1. Heat grill to medium-high and oil the grates. Brush bread, zucchini, and onion all over with oil and season with salt and pepper.

  2. Grill bread and veggies until bread is lightly charred and toasted, 30 seconds to 1 minute per side, and zucchini and onion are lightly charred and crisp-tender, 3 minutes per side.

  3. Transfer grilled bread, zucchini, and onion to a work surface. Rub garlic on both cut sides of the bread, then let everything cool slightly.

  4. Cut bread into bite-size cubes, thinly slice zucchini crosswise, and chop onion.

  5. In a large bowl, whisk together oil and the vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Add bread cubes, zucchini, onion, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Toss to combine and drizzle with balsamic glaze before serving.

Recipe inspired by Delish!

Summer Pasta Salad

When I think of summer parties I think of pasta salad. Pasta salad can be made in so many different ways, so feel free to swap out ingredients in this recipe or find one that works for you.


  • 1 pound tri-color rotini or medium pasta rotini or penne

  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed or bocconcini cut into bite sized pieces

  • 1 ½ cups English cucumber chopped

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved

  • 1 cup bell pepper, any color cut into ½-inch strips

  • ¼ cup black olives sliced, or to taste

  • ¼ cup red onions, ¼-inch chopped or sliced green onions

  • 1 cup Italian dressing or homemade dressing in the notes

  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped

  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente according to package directions. Drain well and rinse under cold water.

  2. While pasta is cooking, chop all vegetables.

  3. Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix well.

  4. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Recipe inspired by SpendwithPennies

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

Chicken on the grill is an easy and delicious way to get some protein in at a 4th of July BBQ/Party.


  • 1/3 cup of Grainy Coarse Mustard

  • 1/3 cup smooth Dijion Mustard

  • 2/3 cup Honey

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

  • 2 Lemons, juiced

  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced

  • 2 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken breast


  1. Combine the grainy coarse mustard, smooth Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, chopped rosemary, and salt in a bowl. Set 1/4 cup of the marinade mixture aside for basting.

  2. Marinate the chicken in a large bowl or ziplock bag and marinate for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

  3. Preheat the grill, with the lid closed, until to about 400 degrees F

  4. Place the chicken on the preheated grill and close the lid. Cook for about 3-5 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F, basting with the reserved marinade

Recipe inspired by Good Life Eats

Grilled Veggie Burgers

Veggie burgers are a great addition to any party as they provide starch, color and protein (12 grams for this recipe!).


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 medium carrot, shredded

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon ketchup

  • 1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

  • 8 whole wheat hamburger buns, split

  • 8 lettuce leaves


  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute onion 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in carrot and spices; cook and stir until the carrot is tender, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

  2. In a large bowl, mash pinto and black beans using a potato masher. Stir in mustard, soy sauce, ketchup and carrot mixture. Add oats, mixing well. Shape into eight 3-1/2-in. Patties.

  3. Place burgers on an oiled grill rack over medium heat or on a greased rack of a broiler pan. Grill, covered, or broil 4 in. from heat until lightly browned and heated through, 4-5 minutes per side. Serve on buns with lettuce and salsa.

Recipe inspired by Taste of Home!

Brownie Flag

This brownie flag recipe is the perfect festive addition to your dessert spread. You can use this recipe or your favorite brownie recipe!


For homemade brownies:

  • 12 tablespoons butter

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

For flag topping:

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries

  • 2 (16-ounce) containers white frosting (you can also use vanilla Greek yogurt)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9X13-inch pan with aluminum foil. Make sure the foil extends up the sides so that you will be able to lift the brownies out of the pan. Spray with cooking spray.

  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in sugar and coca powder.

  3. Make sure mixture is not hot and then whisk in eggs and vanilla extract.

  4. Stir in flour, salt, and baking powder.

  5. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

  6. Lift brownie out of pan and place on a serving tray. Spread with a thin layer of frosting.

  7. Arrange blueberries in rows in top left corner. Place strawberry slices in 5 rows.

  8. Place remaining frosting in a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe frosting between rows of strawberries.

  9. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe inspired by Spicy Southern Kitchen!

Blueberry Lemonade

What’s a party without a fun refreshing drink? This drink only takes five minutes to make, and is the perfect summer drink that also includes 4th of July colors!


  • 3 cups fresh blueberries

  • ⅓ cup honey

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 5-6 cups water, divided

  • additional blueberries and lemon slices, for garnish


  1. Bring one cup of water to a boil. Whisk in honey until dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.

  2. Add blueberries, lemon juice, and 1 cup water to a blender and blend until pureed. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and discard any solids.

  3. Stir together the blueberry puree, honey mixture and remaining 3-4 cups water. Chill and serve over ice.

Recipe inspired by CelebratingSweets!


Kerry Bair, RD, LDN, MPH

The Gymnast RD

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