What to Eat July 4th: Summer BBQ's

By Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Laura Fox

The Fourth of July is one of our favorite holidays as it brings family, friends, and neighbors together. And of course, it involves fun food! Below are some sure ways to keep things nutrient dense. Keep In mind , the best choice for you is the food the will both satisfy and satiate you and your family. Be self aware of your portion size with your hunger fullness cues.

With the help of Fox & Friends, we’ve compiled a variety of common entrees, condiments, dips, and desserts you’ll find at a BBQ this summer. We tested the hosts to see if they knew which food was the “healthiest” not necessarily the lowest in calories! Try and guess which option is chock full of nutrition, and we will explain why!

Hotdog Fox

Entrees: Cheeseburger with Chips vs. Hot Dog with chips vs. Turkey Burger with avocado and olives on the side:

Answer: Ground white turkey meat is key here!! Dark meat raises the saturated fat. The avocado and olives contain the heart helping monosaturated fats that we all need in our diet. And yes, the is a whole wheat bun higher in fiber to help eaters feel full.

Also, keep in mind 1 hot dog equals 1.5 oz of protein while a typical burger here in the USA is about 6 oz protein. Therefore 4 hot dogs equal 1 burger. Think about how many hot dogs fill you up.  Beaware the hot dog will contain more salt than the burger.

Condiments: Ketchup Vs. Mustard Vs. BBQ

When comparing condiments–even salad dressings–it is best to look at the ingredients list instead of the nutrition facts. Many ingredient lists still contain corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and or both. Mustard is 100% natural so preferable. The second preference is ketchup. Heinz now makes Organic Ketchup with no HFCS! .

libby's dip Fox

Dips: Onion Dip vs. Guacamole vs. Libby’s Veggie Dip

Our favorite choice here is Libby’s veggie dip. Laura’s boys are picky eaters and she is always looking for ways to incorporate veggies in their diets. We love the taste and texture of this dip and it is so easy to make! Don’t get us wrong, we also love guac too, for its high content of monounsaturated fats from avocados, however if you ate a burger with avocado, switch it up for some Libby veggie dip (we just learned this recipe last week at the Dishing With the Media event).

You can find the recipe for Libby’s Veggie Dip here. (Add link)

 potato salad cole slaw fox

Side Dishes: German Potato Salad Vs. Cole Slaw Vs. Veggie Slaw

Favorite choice is the easy veggie slaw made of raw veggies in white vinegar. Love yourself some fiber and antioxidants! German potato salad (red potatoes, spices, and olive oil) is a great choice but may feel to filling with all of the other holiday foods we consume on this day.

dessert fox

Desserts: Strawberry Shortcake Vs. Frozen Berry Banana Pops Vs. Italian Ice

Rich in antioxidants and naturally low in calories, the frozen berry pops are the healthiest of these choices. While italian ice is also low in calories, it is high in simple sugar but with no vitamins, minerals or antioxidants. Strawberry short cake contains the most calories, and saturated fat but is definitely yummy!!

Consider what foods you love, what your body is craving, and what will fill and satisfy you. The last thing a Mommy RD would recommend is to eat all the low cal foods and then have you go home to secretly eat the foods you deprived. This is also true for your kids. Have a happy and healthy day mentally, physically and spiritually!!

When choosing what to eat this weekend, remember all foods fit.  Food education can help you make food decisions. By understanding why some foods are higher in nutrition you have the opportunity for choice. And remember, the healthiest option isn’t always the lowest in calories, it is the most nutritious. However, if strawberry shortcake is your absolute favorite dessert, or you feel like Elisabeth Hasselback from Fox and Friends, who exclaimed, “I pick the Italian ice! It is my childhood favorite”, we say, go for it!

Have a wonderful 4th of July!


  1. Kris-Etherton, P. M., Pearson, T. A., Wan, Y., Hargrove, R. L., Moriarty, K., Fishell, V., & Etherton, T. D. (1999). High–monounsaturated fatty acid diets lower both plasma cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 70(6), 1009-1015.
  2. German, J. B., & Dillard, C. J. (2004). Saturated fats: what dietary intake?. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 80(3), 550-559.

Mindfully enjoying, and eating, your way through the holiday season…one holiday at a time!

By Erin Potasnick, Nutrition Student at Yeshiva University and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Labor Day Weekend has passed. What we consider to be the traditional summer season has ended…even though the Autumnal Equinox is weeks away! School is starting. And the Jewish New Year is beginning; the high-holiday period commences with Rosh Hashanah and ends ten days later with Yom Kippur. During the span of this holiday, customs dictate feasting on a wide variety of foods which we may not have eaten all year. For example, one symbolic practice is the consumption of apples dipped in honey to represent wishes for a “sweet” new year. As the holiday approaches, most celebrants think about all that has happened in their lives and the world during the past year as well as their goals for the coming year, what kind of life they want to live, and how to improve themselves. And, of course, there are endless possibilities for improvement. The first one for many might be changing their eating habits in a variety of ways. Because this holiday, among all the others to come during the remainder of our regular calendar year, entails a bountiful amount of traditional, very often high-calorie foods, it presents great challenges.

During all holiday seasons, it’s very easy to consume much more food than you usually do. You may spend endless hours sitting around various tables with family and friends eating large lunches and dinners. With all of this scrumptious-looking food actually surrounding you, your mind may get a little too excited. You definitely want to spoon a portion of every appetizing dish on the table directly onto your plate. This feeling is absolutely understandable! You really do want to “taste” everything—a good word to keep in mind because it should help you to be mindful about how much of each dish you are taking. You want to fill yourself rather stuff yourself. And remember that when people sit around a food-laden table for an extended period of time, they tend to take more servings just because the food is just inches away! The key to changing this behavior is learning to pace yourself.

Since you know there will be a spectacular abundance of traditional mouth-watering dishes prepared for each meal you serve or attend, you must begin by pacing yourself. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. There is enough food for everyone! Don’t rush to be the first one to take food.
  2. It’s not a race! Eat slowly and savor the different flavors. Your friends and family are there to enjoy not only the meal but also the time shared with one another.
  3. Try to balance out your food groups. Look for a tradeoff between lighter and heavier meals; it’s hard to eat heavy meals all the time. A light meal for dinner doesn’t mean going overboard for lunch.
  4. Try to eat only as much food as you would normally. You won’t feel so bloated or uncomfortable after.
  5. Do save room for dessert! But remember, holiday desserts can sometimes be extreme. Extremely elaborate! And extremely delicious! Just be mindful about what and how much you consume.

As noted above, we specifically eat apples dipped in honey during this holiday to represent the “sweet” new year we hope will come; the apple also embodies the scent of the Garden of Eden which was very holy. While a key symbol of this holiday tradition, apples always make a great snack or dessert because of their sweetness and nutrients like Vitamin C.  Plus, they help us feel full with the soluble fiber called pectin (the white inside) and the insoluble fiber, the skin. Incorporating apples and other seasonal fruits into holiday desserts can be a very good idea!

The holidays certainly do offer a cornucopia of sometimes conflicting choices for many people—the joys of sharing precious moments with family and good friends along with potential concerns about nutritional wellness. But trust me, if you’re mindful and attuned to what you are craving and how much you consume, you’ll feel much better about your decisions as you will feel mentally satisfied and physically full. Wisely listening to your body’s needs can take you a long way!

Happy New Year 5774 to all our Jewish friends…