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Fun Recipes To Try For The Fourth of July!

Fourth of July often means parties, delicious spreads of food, and a fun time outside with family and friends. When attending parties with a variety of fun food choices it’s important to remember that all food can fuel a gymnast and there shouldn’t be any restrictions to what they can and can’t eat. As many gymnasts are used to a routine of similar food choices, these fun foods that are different from their usual diet may cause some stress and anxiety.


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


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

  • BBQ foods 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

  • Food like 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.

Make sure to enjoy the special treats at the party! There are plenty of foods that we eat every day that are more than just "fuel." Add that cookie or slice of cake to your plate or grab that fun drink. It's important to remember that nutrition (like gymnastics) is all about balance. One food, one meal, or one day will not change your body or your health. You want to look back on celebrations like these and remember the fun times you had with family and friends, not the time you spent worrying about the food you did or didn’t eat.

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Fruits and Vegetables in season!


Why pick fruits and vegetables in season?

A few of the recipes below contain fruits and vegetables that are in season! Seasonal food is fresher and more nutritious than food consumed out of season. Since they are able to ripen naturally, they contain higher levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!


Here are some fun recipes for the fourth of July!





Classic Macaroni Salad With Ham

This cold macaroni salad goes perfectly with bbq foods and is a tasty way to get your vegetables in!


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

  • 1 cup chopped cooked ham

  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced

  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced

  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, diced

  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced

  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise, ranch, or even ripe avocado

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta: Prepare macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool.

  2. Combine remaining ingredients: Combine macaroni and next 9 ingredients until blended. Add salt.

  3. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

Recipe inspired by: Southern living recipes



Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Zucchini, Squash and Tomatoes


Zucchini squash and tomatoes are both ripe and in season which means it's extra tasty this time of year! This dish is perfect to include for the "color" portion of your athletes plate.



Ingredients:

  • 2 small zucchini (1 lb), cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

  • 2 small yellow squash (1 lb), cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

  • 14 oz Flavoring or small Campari tomatoes , sliced into halves

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic , minced (1 1/2 Tbsp)

  • 1 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup (2.4 oz) finely shredded Parmesan cheese

  • Fresh or dried parsley , for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line an 18 by 13 inch rimmed baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil.

  2. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic and Italian seasoning (if possible let rest 5 - 10 minutes to allow flavors to infuse into oil). Place zucchini, squash and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Pour olive oil mixture over top and gently toss with hands to evenly coat.

  3. Pour onto prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top of each. Roast in preheated oven 25 - 30 minutes until veggies are tender and Parmesan is golden brown. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve warm.

Recipe inspired by: Cooking Classy


Deviled eggs


Don't let the name fool you, these deviled eggs taste heavenly and are a great source of protein!


Ingredients:

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs

  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped onion

  • 2 tbsp. sweet relish

  • 1 tsp. dry mustard

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1/4 c. Ranch dressing, jarred or homemade

  • Paprika and sprigs of parsley or chives, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Peel eggs and cut into half lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a medium bowl; set whites aside on a platter. Mash yolks, using a fork, until fluffy. Mix in onion, sweet relish, mustard, salt, and ranch dressing until smooth.

  2. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 3/4" tip or large, sealable plastic bag with yolk mixture. (If using a plastic bag, cut corners to create a 3/4-inch hole.) Pipe filling into the well of each egg white. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and parsley or chives.

Recipe inspired by: Country living


Salt-and-Pepper BBQ Ribs


Everyone will want to call dibs on these ribs! Not only are they delicious but they are also packed full of protein and a collagen (which is helpful for tendons and ligament health)! Try pairing this dish with macaroni salad (carbohydrate) and a vegetable dish (color) to make a complete athletes plate.


Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. light or dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 c. coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1/4 c. kosher salt

  • 10 1/2 lb. spareribs (about 3 racks)

  • Canola oil, for grill grates

  • 1 1/2 c. barbecue sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine brown sugar, pepper, and salt in a bowl. Place each rack of ribs on a large sheet of foil (it should be long enough to fold over ribs lengthwise); sprinkle ribs with rub. Wrap each rack individually and place on 2 large rimmed baking sheets.

  2. Bake until ribs are very tender (meat will separate from bone when you wiggle it), 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

  3. Carefully unwrap each rack of ribs; pour off any accumulated juices into a liquid measuring cup. (Ribs can be made up to this point up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate ribs and cooking liquid until ready to eat.)

  4. Set up a grill for direct cooking and heat to medium-high. Once hot, clean and oil grates. Remove any fat that has settled at top of cooking liquid and discard. Transfer liquid to a small saucepan and add barbecue sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and combined, 4 to 6 minutes.

  5. Brush both sides of ribs with sauce mixture. Grill ribs, turning and basting occasionally, until ribs are deeply browned and shiny, 5 to 8 minutes. Cut ribs between bones and serve with any remaining sauce.

Recipe inspired by: Country living


Vegetable kebab


What a fun, festive and delicious way to eat some vegetables! Zucchini and onions are ripe and in season, making this vegetable kebab even more delicious this time of year!



Ingredients:


- Marinade

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (not fine salt)

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

- Vegetables:

  • 8 oz button mushrooms

  • 1 large red bell pepper

  • ½ red onion

  • 2 medium zucchinis

Instructions:

  1. If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water until ready to use.

  2. In a large bowl, gently mix together the marinade ingredients.

  3. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. If they have prominent stems, remove them.

  4. Cut the bell pepper and the red onion into squares, as shown in the video.

  5. Slice the unpeeled zucchinis into ¼-inch thick slices.

  6. Add the prepared vegetables to the marinade and gently mix until well-coated.

  7. Heat your grill on medium-high. I use an indoor George Foreman grill. You can use a similar grill, an outdoor grill, or a grill pan.

  8. Thread the vegetables on six skewers, as shown in the video. If using soaked wooden skewers, pat dry them first.

  9. Oil your grill and place the vegetable skewers on the grill. Grill until tender, 4-5 minutes per side, or 3 minutes per side if using a dual-contact grill.

Recipe inspired by: Healthy Recipes


Grilled Green Bean Salad with Cucumbers and Dill


This dish is super refreshing on a hot summer day and the green beans are in season! Try pairing with a protein and carbohydrate rich food to make it a complete meal.



Ingredients:

  • English cucumber, quartered and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • sugar

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • green beans, trimmed

  • scallions, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces

  • olive oil

  • lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • chopped fresh dill

Directions:

  1. Set up grill for direct cooking and heat to medium-high. Place cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 15 minutes.

  2. Toss together green beans, scallions, and oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Grill in a grill basket over direct heat, tossing occasionally, until beans are charred and tender, 12 to 14 minutes.

  3. Toss together cucumbers, green beans, lemon zest and juice, and dill in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.


Red, White and Blue Strawberries!


Not only are these fun and festive for the 4th but strawberries are ripe and in season making them more delicious than ever!



Ingredients:

  • 20 pieces Strawberries

  • 140 grams (1 cups) White chocolate good quality chocolate chips eg. Callebaut or white chocolate bar

  • Blue sprinkles or Sanding sugar

Directions:

  1. Rinse and completely dry the strawberries with the help of paper towels.

  2. Melt white chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave at low heat, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Make sure that you do not overheat the chocolate as it can become grainy; only heat it until it is fully melted.

  3. Hold a strawberry by the green leaves, then dip it ¾ into the melted white chocolate. Let any excess white chocolate drip off by gently shaking the strawberry, then dip it into the blue sprinkles to cover the lower ⅓ of the strawberry.

  4. Proceed with the rest of the strawberries. Place them on a prepared baking sheet next to each other.

  5. Let the chocolate sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  6. Serve them fresh, store any leftovers refrigerated for 1-2 days.

Watermelon popsicles!


Watermelon popsicles are a great way to cool off on the fourth of July!


Ingredients:

  • 4 cups diced watermelon, fresh

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries - stems removed and roughly chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice - or to taste

  • 2 tablespoons honey - or to taste

Directions:

  1. Make sure you have popsicle molds ready.

  2. This recipe makes enough for 6 standard popsicles.

  3. In a blender, blend the watermelon, strawberries, lime juice, and honey until smooth and fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the blender if needed.

  4. If desired, add more lime juice or honey to taste.

  5. Evenly pour the mixture into the popsicle molds and assemble, leaving about ⅓ inch gap at the top to allow for expansion. Freeze for at least 4-6 hours or preferably overnight.

Tip: For ease, use a measuring cup with a spout or a small pitcher to pour the mixture. To release, run each popsicle under warm water for a few seconds to loosen it up, and then pull until released.

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Comments


Kerry Bair, RD, LDN, MPH

The Gymnast RD

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