With the 4th of July just around the corner, you’re probably starting to think about what you’ll be serving at a 4th of July party or bringing to someone else’s. Are you doing a barbecue? Corn on the cob? Hot dogs? If you are, you won’t be alone. Seventy-four million Americans barbecue on the 4th of July and 150 million hot dogs are eaten. [1,2]
And if you’re just giving up and ordering assorted pizzas—pepperoni, sausage, Hawaiian, you name it—you’re still not alone because the 4th of July is the second most popular holiday for pizza-ordering in the U.S.
But think about it: aren’t you getting a little tired of eating the exact same things every year? And with more people becoming vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to accommodate all of your guests—some can’t eat the bread, some can’t eat the meat. It’s a headache waiting to happen, but you still want to please all of your guests.
So, this 4th of July, try something different. And if you can’t part with your beloved barbecue or have a killer burger recipe, try adding one of these dishes to the repertoire in addition to your old favorites. These recipes are crowd-pleasers that work for individuals with a range of dietary restrictions. Most importantly, they’re easy to make—cooking doesn’t have to be stressful, intimidating, or difficult this 4th of July. Instead, it can be simple and will leave you with a beautiful and delicious dish that you and your guests can enjoy.
3 Healthy and Easy 4th of July Recipes
Red, White + Blue Galette
If you’re starting your 4th of July celebration earlier in the day, this recipe is a great choice for brunch. Plus, it’s gluten-free! To make prepare this dish, start with two cups of almond flour, which is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and sweeter in taste than traditional wheat flour.  Watching what you eat might not be the first thing on your mind this 4th of July, but it’s nice that even simple, delicious crowd-pleasers can deliver some health benefits.
Next, add two tablespoons of melted coconut oil and two eggs. Finish it off with a dash of salt, a dash of cinnamon, a teaspoon of baking soda, and a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup. Once you’ve mixed these ingredients together, roll this dough into a ball and set aside.
Now, it’s time to get started to on the most important part: the fresh fruits. Start by tossing together strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cinnamon, and salt, and set aside. If you’re looking to make this meal even fresher and support your community, try buying the berries at a local farmers market—you’ll be surprised at just how different they taste.
Next, place the finished dough on a piece of parchment paper, put another sheet of parchment paper on top, and roll out the dough into a thin circular shape. Next, place the berry mixture into the center of the dough, leaving a two-inch rim of dough around the edge. Finish it off by sprinkling goat cheese on top of the berry mixture for the perfect sweet and savory combination.
Before popping this all in the oven, cut the rim of the dough to the edge of the berries roughly every three to four inches around and fold the flaps into the berry mixture. Then, drizzle honey or maple syrup on top and put it in the oven at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes. Once it’s out, top it off with some fresh lemon zest, and enjoy!
In addition to offering a great, fresh, healthy, and gluten-free-friendly brunch treat, this galette has the added benefit of being red, white, and blue, which makes it the perfect addition to your arsenal of 4th of July recipes.
Fresh Dill + Peach Salad
If you’re looking for a way to add some freshness to the meal you serve this 4th of July, this salad is a great option. Because it’s a mix of sweet and savory, featuring fresh peaches, this option is great for either brunch or lunch. Who knows, maybe you want to serve it alongside the red, white, and blue galette if you’re looking to add another gluten-free, vegetarian, and potentially vegan option to your 4th of July menu.
To prepare this salad, start by tossing together one bushel of Laccinato kale that is thinly sliced and has the ribs left in. Combine this with arugula, four sliced peaches, one cup of halved cherry tomatoes, and a handful of finely chopped fresh dill. Finish it off with olive oil, a sprinkle of shallots, red pepper flakes, lemon, sea salt, goat or feta cheese, and a drizzle of tahini. If you want to make this option vegan, just leave out the cheese.
Again, the abundance of vegetables in this dish gives you the perfect opportunity to head to the farmer’s market to make this dish even more delicious and support your local community.
This option also highlights the idea that cooking can be made simple, and it doesn’t always have to be about exact measurements and following the given recipe to a tee. Everything is based on your taste and the tastes of your guests. This salad is great because it provides a rough guideline for what to add, but decisions about how much of the spices and vegetables you want to add are ultimately up to you. The most important thing is that you’re creating a product that’s easy, fresh, healthy, and filling for you and your guests.
Fried Rosemary Watermelon Salad
If you’re looking for a more unique spin on a classic salad recipe, try this one out. Again, since this recipe combines sweet and savory flavors, it can be a great option for either brunch or dinner. It brings a bit of the 4th of July spirit with the pop of color from the watermelon and takes advantage of the delicious sweetness of watermelon in the summer.
To prepare this salad, begin by frying the rosemary.
First, de-stem the rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan on medium-high heat with coconut oil and sea salt. Fry it for five minutes or until it turns brown.
To begin building this dish, spread two cups of full-fat Greek yogurt evenly on a flat plate or serving dish. You’ve likely heard about the benefits of Greek yogurt, like its high protein content, abundant probiotics, and easier digestion by individuals who are lactose intolerant. 
Because of the nutrients that it’s packed with, using Greek yogurt as the base of your salad not only provides a range of health benefits but also helps bust the popular myth that salads leave you feeling hungry after you eat them.
Next, drizzle honey or agave on top of the yogurt in any way or any amount you like. Add chili flakes and sea salt on top of the yogurt to taste.
Now it’s time for the star of the show: the watermelon. Add this on top of the yogurt any way you like—if you want to create a 4th of July themed design, go for it. If you’re in a rush to get everything ready, though, spread the watermelon any way you want. Finally, top it all off with fried rosemary sprigs, drizzling the drippings from the pan on top for added flavor. Finish everything off with poppy seeds, sea salt, and chili flakes to taste.
There you have it: a great, refreshing dish that you can serve as a stand-alone salad or as a side with other meals. Again, this is another option that’s quick and healthy and can please people with different dietary restrictions or preferences: gluten-free, keto, vegetarian, and potentially vegan if you choose to use your favorite non-dairy Greek yogurt and agave.
A Healthy 4th of July Made Easy
With the recipes above, preparing for your 4th of July celebration can be as simple as mixing some healthy, fresh ingredients together and serving up easy-to-make but complex-tasting meals that your guests will enjoy—and all be able to eat. This way, not only can you take charge of your health and fill your body with feel-good foods, but you can also put your money towards local farmers if you shop local rather than at large-scale corporations like pizza places or large supermarkets with pre-made foods filled with mysteriously-sourced ingredients.
The idea of community and patriotism is what 4th of July is really about. So, what better way to celebrate this spirit than by gathering with your friends and family and serving food that everyone can enjoy that combines old traditions with new simple recipes, all while supporting local farmers or shops? Enjoy these dishes and happy 4th of July!
What if we told you that some of the most common health issues in the United States—even the ones that seem completely out of your control—are preventable? You might have heard the saying that food is fuel but think about what happens when you put the wrong kind of fuel in a car—it doesn’t run well. The same goes for your body: if you fill it with beneficial fuel, it runs smoothly; if you don’t, you may end up with one of these common health concerns that are highly preventable through lifestyle choices.
So, if eating healthy, local, high-quality foods can be the solution to so many health issues, why aren’t more people jumping on board? It’s a combination of misinformation about the prices of healthy foods combined with food accessibility issues and increasingly busy lifestyles that make fast food and takeout seem like the easiest option. In the past when humans were hunters and gatherers or when agriculture first began, most everyone’s lives were centered on gathering food and using this fresh, local produce to sustain themselves. Now, individuals are so much more disconnected from the food they eat—getting food is as easy as picking up a microwave dinner off of a shelf at the grocery store or getting a dollar menu meal at your favorite fast food place. Yes, the fact that modern technology has made food so accessible in so many places is great, but with more disconnect from the food gathering and cooking process also come the perils of eating lots of processed foods: the negative effects of foods high in sodium, trans fats, and especially refined sugar.
So, it might be easy to say that some of the most common health issues can be prevented by filling your body with the right kind of fuel—with good quality food—but how do you actually do that? It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re going to eat healthy food or support small businesses instead of franchises, but if you’ve been at work for eight hours and might even be considering bringing some work home that night, getting a burger, fries, and a shake in that drive-thru seems like the best and most stress-free option. Or, if you’ve had a long week filled with work, carpools, or even tasks around the house, but are planning a get-together this weekend, ordering cheap pizza, stuffed cheesy bread, and wings from a popular franchise seems a whole lot easier than cooking for 20. And, of course, if you’re on vacation, eating out every day really seems like the best option, even if you’re staying in a home with a kitchen.
So, yes, it’s understandable: everybody is busy, and food of lesser quality often seems like the quick fix. But consider this: if you’re thinking about your long-term health, is the quick fix really what you want? Is a little bit of time saved now worth the risk for highly preventable health issues later? It doesn’t seem like it. But, again, the work creeps up and even the weekends are filled with work, errands, or chores, and it does sometimes seem like the quick fix is the best way out. What if there was just as quick of a fix that still allowed you to have healthy, high-quality meals made with local produce whether you’re travelling and staying at an Airbnb or hosting a weekend get-together at your house?
This is where Placemat comes in. Placemat’s goal is to change the way individuals eat by connecting local chefs and culinary professionals with meals in the comfort of your own home. The service brings neighborhood ingredients right to your kitchen with the purpose of improving the health of individuals by making nutritious food more accessible, personal, and intentional. We’ve explored how better nutrition can affect overall well-being and are working to tackle just a small part of a complex issue. Most importantly, we want to show that better health is accessible and affordable and can benefit not only the consumer, but also the producer. Placemat takes the perceived difficulty out of eating nutritious meals: booking is done through the website where it’s easy to select a menu that can accommodate any and all dietary restrictions—vegan, vegetarian, Whole30, Paleo, gluten free, or that one person who eats anything and everything, we’re talking to all of you. Our team reaches out to confirm the booking, and on the day of your event, a local chef arrives and prepares your customized, family-style meal for you in less than 90 minutes—we even do the dishes. We’ve already served healthy, affordable, and delicious meals to more than 4,000 people in Nashville and know that we will continue to grow. With this in mind, think twice about ordering mediocre pizza, wings, and soda for your next get-together and try something that can give you a taste of local cuisine, benefits local chefs and businesses, offers a healthy meal, and provides you some quality time with family, friends, or co-workers all in the comfort of your own home or at an Airbnb in a city you’re visiting.