|Looking for some awesome low-carb ideas for your next|
Fourth-of-July celebration? Well, look no further!
Get dozens of low-carb ideas and recipes right here!
If you’re following a low-carb diet, you can still have a fantastic Fourth-of-July celebration, or even a summer barbecue, without having to worry about kicking yourself out of ketosis. Following the Atkins approach doesn't mean sacrifice. You just have to do things a bit differently than you did before.
Grilled meats have always been the center of attraction for the Fourth, so here's how to get those barbecue sauces, sides, and summertime treats to fit into your diet plan.
If you're using the Atkins Nutritional Approach to carve off those extra pounds, you don’t have to sit on the sidelines or deprive yourself of holiday goodies. And that includes Fourth of July picnics and barbecues.
The most popular ways of celebrating America’s freedom and independence make it easy to surround yourself in vivid colors of red, white, and blue – yet still maintain control over those carbs. All it takes to be an active, patriotic participant is a little bit of fore-thought and some preparation.
Don't want until Tuesday morning to start figuring out how to stay on plan. If you do, you’ll end up with a:
- plain bun-free burger or hot dog
- boring lettuce salad
- handful of pork rinds
- and maybe a few strawberries for color
- creamy potato salad
- sugary baked beans
- corn on the cob
- red, white, and blue jello salads
- and red, white, and blue cupcakes
|Make your Fourth of July celebration special|
by doing something different this year!
Who wants boring, healthy food when everyone else is not concerned with how many calories they're ingesting for a single afternoon?
Well, I'm here to tell you that you don't have to fight your inner demons and settle for less than the best.
Even though one free day won’t damage your new way of eating for very long, provided you don't get endlessly stuck in the cycle of going off and back on plan, a better alternative to risking carb overload is to take a few moments right now and give the food you plan to serve or eat a bit more thought.
Whether you’re the party chef, the hostess, or an invited guest, here’s how to plan the perfect Fourth-of-July Celebration, so you won't feel deprived and left out.
Decorate with Patriotic Colors – Set Up Red, White, and Blue Tables
Decorations, centerpieces, and plate settings that play on the traditional Independence Day colors of red, white, and blue can make the day truly unique and memorable. Also, take advantage of colorful cups, plates, silverware, napkins, and tablecloth.
Since blue low-carb foods are few, consider using a blue tablecloth to set the mood for the afternoon. Don’t just opt for a boring white, although a white vinyl tablecloth or white lace can look quite striking as the background color to a stack of blue or red plates and cups.
|Blue is a calming color and will help further the|
red, white, and blue theme since there are
few blue low-carb foods.
Place cards, place mats, and even a centerpiece that takes advantage of red, white, and blue roses (or your favorite flower) can really set the tone for the entire day. Using contrasting greenery and patriotic flags or other knickknacks can turn an everyday centerpiece into something that WOWs your guests.
Homemade napkins created out of a red, white, and blue patterned fabric would also be easy and quick to make. Just cut the material to the size you want and hem all four sides with a basic stitch. They don't have to be fancy. Just fit nicely into the theme.
|Planning your low-carb Fourth of July Celebration|
can be fun when you stick with a red, white, and blue theme.
Get the whole family involved in the game. Specialized Fourth of July:
- and shoelaces
When the holiday is over and done with, it will be the fun you had that you and your family will remember, and not necessarily what you ate.
However, that doesn’t mean that holiday food isn’t important.
It obviously is, or you wouldn't be looking for new food ideas to help you stay on plan.
But when you spend an appropriate amount of time covering your tables with a special tablecloth, rolling single-serving sets of silverware inside red napkins, or arranging the food on the table to keep the Patriotic colors well-balanced, you give your subconscious mind something fun to do, rather than eat.
Low-Carb Barbecue Main Dishes for the Fourth-of-July
The nice thing about picnics and barbecues is that the main part of your meal won't take a lot of extra thought. No one expects the main dish to be ultra-fancy. The Fourth-of-July traditionally features:
- hot dogs
- pork or beef ribs
- pork steaks or chops
- grilled chicken
- grilled steak
- shish kabobs
- grilled salmon
Most brands will set you back about 8 to 10 carbs per tablespoon. And the same goes for marinades, which often contain a lot of sugar.
If you’re going to a holiday barbecue, one option is to call ahead and ask what the host or hostess plans to do regarding marinades and sauces. While this might feel embarrassing from your end, the hostess will generally appreciate you asking.
In the hectic environment of planning and carrying out a Fourth of July celebration, most hosts and hostesses will simply plan a menu with recipes they enjoy eating. Expect those in charge of the food to not give a lot of thought, if any, to what the guests prefer, and you'll end up with fewer disappointments later on.
Catering to guests preferences isn't something that most people are willing to do, especially dietary limitations, so if there isn’t a good option already available, simply bring your own meat and sauce to throw on a corner of the grill.
This is how hubby and I used to handle the problem before we went gluten free. Today, we always bring our own food with us.
If you're the host of your Fourth of July event, you have a lot more control over the food being served.
In that case, the following recipes for low-carb barbecue sauce and a tasty lemon or lime herb marinade will come in handy. The barbecue sauce is similar to one already in our archives, but this sauce is easier to make because it uses Hunt's sugar-reduced ketchup made with Splenda.
The texture of the ketchup makes the finished sauce similar in texture to traditional barbecue sauce, so if you decide to try this, you'll be quite pleased with the result. The ingredient list is long, but most of it is spices, so it's well worth the effort.
Easy Low-Carb Barbecue Sauce for Phase 2Ingredients:
1 cup sugar-reduced ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spices
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
1 teaspoon molasses
1/3 cup sugar substitute
1/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup
2 tablespoons Brandy (optional)
Place all of the ingredients and seasonings in a large saucepan. Stir until well combined. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
*If you don’t have all of those spices, you can leave some of them out, but the pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon are the two that give this sauce its yummy flavor.
Lemon or Lime-Herb Marinade (Induction-Friendly Recipe)
Juice of one lemon or two small limes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 packet sugar substitute
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well. Pour over your barbecue meat of choice and marinate for several hours before grilling.
If you're on Atkins Induction, and can't use the barbecue sauce recipe above, you can baste your meat with this marinade. Just hold some of it back before pouring over your meat or make a double batch, so you have plenty to use.
Low-Carb Main Dish Picnic Ideas
grilled chicken breast that has been cooked up ahead of time, and then paired with a nice, colorful, low-carb dipping sauce, make great celebratory main dishes to accompany your red, white, and blue theme.
If you aren’t sensitive to wheat, you can also use a low-carb flour from our list of alternatives and make some tasty fried chicken.
Chicken strips or nuggets breaded with crushed pork rinds and dried Parmesan cheese, then dipped in a sauce of mayo and mustard -- or even the above barbecue sauce -- also make tasty main dishes for a low-carb picnic.
Even leftover barbecued ribs or pork chops are good cold.
We used to live near a Sprouts farmers market. They sold assorted turkey parts. Kroger or Smith's does, too. We love to braise turkey legs or thighs in water to cover with lots of garlic powder and some salt. This can be done in a large pot over the stove or in the crock pot. These are fantastic served cold. But you can do the same thing with larger chicken thighs.
Take advantage of:
- low-carb lettuce wraps
- cold meat balls tossed in barbecue sauce
- single-serving sized meatloaf made in muffin tins
- sandwiches made with sliced cheese for bread
- chicken or tuna salad spread on cucumber or cheese chips
- lunch meat filled with cream cheese or dill pickles and then rolled into tubes
Red, White, and Blue BeveragesBeverages is one place where you can make the holiday really shine. Since most low carbers drink mostly water, serving something more exotic for the Fourth can make it different and fun. Try to keep the carb count ultra low, so you have a bigger carb budget to spend on food that will fill you up and make you feel satisfied.
Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry DrinkOcean Spray makes a diet cranberry juice drink that is sweetened with Splenda, so it's only 2 carbs per 8-ounce cup. While this bottled beverage is more like a cranberry-flavored soft drink, than juice, it's colorful and can make a nice treat for your Fourth of July picnic or barbecue.
Berry-Flavored Diet Soda
|There are several ways you can create unique|
drinks for the holiday like adding strawberries to
7-Up or lemon-lime diet sodas.
The easy way to get a flavored drink or soda is to freeze a red or blue-flavored Crystal Light drink into ice cubes and drop them into a glass of diet 7-Up or Lemon-Lime soda.
But you can also take fresh raspberries, strawberries, and/or blueberries and drop them into your diet drink, as well. For added flavor, try adding a bit of cranberry drink, described above, to turn your lemon-lime soda pink.
Alternatively, you can add the berries to the water that you're freezing into ice cubes, then drop the ice cubes into your drink.
Red, White, and Blue Side Dishes for Your Fourth-of-July Celebration
Side dishes is where you can really get creative and show your family and friends that carbs aren't necessary, even at a holiday bash. Like the decorations, think about adding some foods and ingredients that add to the day's red, white, and blue theme:
Spark Up Your Lettuce Salad:Don’t just serve a simple lettuce salad with chopped cucumbers, celery, and green onions. Take advantage of the summer's:
- sliced strawberries
- red radishes
- bright red sweet peppers
- hard-cooked eggs
- grape or cherry tomatoes
- crumbled feta or blue cheese
Meat and Cheese Appetizers:Make appetizers using cubes of pepper-jack cheese, cherry tomatoes, ham cubes, and black olives. Spear them together with blue toothpicks or toothpicks that hold a U.S. flag.
Cauliflower Salad:Cauliflower salad is made just like potato salad with green onions, chopped pickles, sliced black olives, and mayonnaise, but if you add blueberries and chunks of red bell peppers and red radishes, you'll have a nice Patriotic presentation. For an added twist, throw in a few bacon crumbles, some minced jalapeno, and a handful of tiny baby cooked shrimp.
Deviled Eggs:For those who are still on Atkins Induction, you can use minced red sweet peppers in the yolk filling, along with the traditional lemon juice and mayo, but add a little bit of blue food coloring to really perk this up.
Yesterday, when I was looking at Pinterest for some low-carb holiday ideas, I ran into a pin that took this much farther than I ever have. Instead of turning the filling baby blue, the blogger died peeled hard-boiled eggs bright blue and then made the filling a deep red. The blue dye gave the deviled eggs a nice outer blue ring.
For those who might want to try this, you can find the recipe here.
Additional Side Dishes
Everything you make doesn’t have to be red, white, and blue, especially if you’re still on Induction or haven’t returned berries to your diet yet.
If your get-together will be just family or a small handful of friends, making everything red, white, and blue might work well. If you're serving a crowd, and need some extra ideas for creative low-carb side dishes, just make sure that your sides go the extra-mile with little touches that take them beyond your everyday low-carb recipes:
16 ounce can green beans, drained
16 ounce can yellow wax beans, drained
16 ounce can black soy beans
2 sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
Combine beans and vegetables. Toss with your favorite sugar-free Italian Dressing that you have added extra sugar substitute to, and chill overnight. This gets better and better as it sits in the refrigerator, so I often do it two to three days ahead.
Black soybeans are extremely low in carbs, due to their fiber content, but if you're doing Atkins 72 or 92, or if black soybeans aren't available in your area, you can use vegetables, instead of the beans. Hubby likes mixed vegetables, but any vegetable that fits into your low-carb plan will work well in this salad.
Low-Carb Cole Slaw:If you're used to eating lots of lettuce salad, you might want to do something different for the holiday like cole slaw. Purchased cole slaw from the deli, however, is super high in sugar, but you can do the same thing at home by combining:
- a package of ready-mix cole slaw veggies
- celery seeds
- minced garlic
- and lemon juice
This tangerine and walnut cole slaw recipe will also make your Fourth-of-July salad extra special.
Easy Vegetable Salad:Look over your list of acceptable vegetables for Induction and pick out several different kinds you like. You can use the vegetables raw, or lightly steam them instead. We prefer them steamed, but lots of folks prefer a crunchy salad.
Toss your vegetable mixture with:
- a teaspoon or two of Splenda
- a squirt of spicy mustard
- some crumbled bacon
- and a heavy dash of Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning
Many low carbers are particularly fond of raw chopped broccoli, cheese chunks, and bacon.
|Jalapeno Hot Poppers|
Simply slice the top off a jumbo-sized jalapeno pepper, then make a cut down one side of the pepper lengthwise. This will allow you to open it up. Be careful not to cut the pepper completely in half, though. You want to be able to remove the pith and seeds, and then fill the cavity with cream cheese.
Eight ounces of softened cream cheese will fill about 12 large jalapeno peppers.
Once filled, close the pepper back up and wrap in a slice of bacon. Since the jalapenos are large, you'll need to do this in a spiral. Thinly sliced bacon is traditional, but I've also wrapped them in thick-style bacon and they cooked up just fine.
It will look like there is too much bacon, but the bacon will shrink as it cooks and tighten itself around the pepper, as shown in the photo above.
Secure the bacon in place with a couple of toothpicks. I also like to put the top back onto the peppers, and secure that with a toothpick, as well. It will help to keep the cream cheese from exploding out of the pepper.
Bake or grill the peppers, turning them over often, until the bacon is crispy and the peppers are cooked through. In the oven, I like to put the oven rack closer to the upper heating element to help crisp the bacon faster.
My Favorite Fourth-of-July Salad: Low-Carb Fruit Fluff
For those who can afford a few extra carbohydrates, this low-carb fruit fluff is to diet for! Originally made with crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, small baby marshmallows, chopped pecans, and Cool Whip when I was growing up, I’ve adapted it to be more low-carb friendly. It turned out even better than the original!
This is our favorite Fourth-of-July salad now.
Not only does it make a nice red, white, and blue presentation, but fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are in season come July, so they are reasonably priced just in time for the holiday.
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
sugar substitute to taste
8 ounces softened cream cheese
2 to 3 cups of assorted berries: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries
16-ounce carton of cottage cheese
sugar-free gelatin, blue or red (raspberry tastes best)
Extras: unsweetened coconut, chopped nuts, dried cranberries, etc.
Whip up the heavy cream until nice and thick. Add sugar substitute to taste. The amount of sweetener you need will depend on how sweet your berries are. Sometimes, early season berries are quite sweet already, so you won't need as much as you will later in the season.
Add the whipped cream to the softened cream cheese and beat until the mixture is nice and smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine berries (slice or quarter the strawberries if extra large), cottage cheese, and enough sugar-free gelatin to give it all a nice dark color. When you fold in the thickened cream, the color will lighten up quite a bit, so you want the color to be much darker than you'd like it to be when finished.
Add the berries and any extras you like, and stir to coat well. Then, fold in the thickened whipped cream, and chill thoroughly.
*You can make this without the cream cheese, but the cheese helps the whipped cream hold its volume. Whipped cream tends to thin as it sits.
|Need ideas for some yummy Fourth-of-July|
Low Carb Desserts?
When it comes to low-carb desserts, there’s no shortage of recipes on the web. When I went to Pinterest yesterday to look at what's popular this year for the Fourth of July, almost every single recipe Pinterest showed me was a fancy dessert.
Many recipes for low-carb cakes, cookies, and pies use low-carb products that contain wheat gluten or starches. If you’re sensitive to gluten, you’ll want to stay away from those. Look for recipes that use nut or coconut flours instead.
The holidays are a perfect time to try out a new low-carb recipe, so the following are some of our favorite low-carb desserts that we used to eat or currently still eat today:
Chocolate-Mayonnaise Pound Cake:This recipe for low-carb chocolate cake is wonderful, but it needs to be made at least one day ahead. If you eat it the same day as you bake it, the cake will be dry. After you frost it and allow it to sit overnight, the texture of the crumb changes dramatically, and it becomes moist and wonderful. It does use wheat gluten though.
Easy Apple-Blueberry Crisp:If you’re short on time, this recipe for apple crisp makes use of canned sugar-free pie filling. It's higher in carbs, however, so more suited for those doing Atkins 40 or at a higher carb level.
Easy Strawberry Pie:If you’re looking for a red, white, and blue dessert, this low-carb strawberry pie will make you look like you spent hours in the kitchen. It's the best low-carb strawberry pie I've ever had. I make this one all the time.
You can serve it to your non low-carb guests, and they’ll never know the carbs are missing! Or take it along with you to a Fourth-of-July party, but be prepared to share the recipe.
Real Strawberry Popsicles:If you’re hosting your own Fourth-of-July party, whipping up a bunch of real strawberry popsicles will keep the kids happy, as well as the adults. For an added touch, toss in a few blueberries and maybe swirl in a bit of whipped cream for a marbled effect.
Strawberry-Blueberry Shortcake:If you want to get creative, you can make a fantastic strawberry-blueberry shortcake using our Atkins’ original Revolution Roll recipe piled into a tube pan and baked into an Angel Food Cake. Yep. You can make honest-to-goodness Angel Food Cake since our version uses whey protein powder instead of flour.
Revolution rolls themselves make a nice shortcake base. Like the chocolate cake above, they do need to be made at least one day ahead, so they'll have time to rest in the refrigerator overnight. Once softened, just split, fill with berries, and top with Splenda-sweetened whipped cream.
Low-Carb Cupcakes:Dr. Atkins' recipe for Revolution Rolls can also be baked in a muffin pan using cupcake paper liners. You can then frost them for delicious low-carb cupcakes! For a marbled effect, simply divide the cupcake batter into two dishes and tint each bowlful red or blue. Carefully spoon the colored batter into your muffin cups and bake.
When I do these, I lightly spray the paper cups with a non-stick spray since the batter is mostly eggs whites, which are light on fat.
Easy Low-Carb Cream Cheese FrostingI noticed recently, that someone on Pinterest had come up with a low-carb cream cheese frosting. The recipe went viral. However, that low-carb creation has been around since the 90's when it was first created by someone on one of the old Atkins recipe boards.
The recipes you'll see for this all come with slight variations, but the original recipe is so good, you won't be able to tell that there isn't powdered sugar in there. Here's the original recipe for sugar-free cream cheese frosting:
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Splenda to taste
Cream together the cream cheese and butter until nice and fluffy. Add vanilla and Splenda to taste, beating until well combined.
This is great just as it is, but for the Fourth of July, you could also flavor this sugar-free frosting with assorted extracts, fold in some unsweetened coconut and chopped nuts, or add some food coloring to match the holiday. You can also tint the coconut blue and sprinkle it on top of the frosted cupcakes, or top the cakes with freshly sliced strawberries or blueberries just before serving.
When I used to make these, non low carbers in the house kept going back for more. They are just that good!
Low-Carb Sugar-Free Cheesecake:
Hubby is fond of the no-bake type of cheesecake, so that's what I've spent most of my time developing.
He also likes me to top it with a strawberry or cherry sugar-free jam or sauce, but you can just top it with fresh berries if you want to. Sugar-free pie filling is also available if you're short on time and can afford the carbs.
Low-Carb Almond Pie CrustIf you're doing a nut crust for your pie, you need to make this first. This recipe came from a Low-Carb Friends forum member, Skeeter, but I cut way back on the butter, so it wouldn't be swimming in grease after baking.
It rivals a traditional graham cracker crust, and since crushed graham crackers tend to be coarse, nut meal will work just as well as blanched almond flour in this pie crust:
1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter
1-1/2 cups almond flour or nut meal
1 egg white
sweetener to equal 1/3 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
It's easiest just to melt the butter in the microwave, since you don't need very much for this. After melting, toss it into the almond meal or flour and stir well. Add the egg white and toss gently, getting the meal or flour as coated as you can. You want to equally distribute the egg white as much as possible.
Press the crumbs into a square baking dish. Since almonds have lots of fat, you don't need to pre-spray your pan, but you can if you want to. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool before filling.
Basic No-Bake Low-Carb Cheesecake FillingFor the Fourth of July, I just use my basic recipe and sometimes add a bit of blue or red food coloring to tint it. If you don't have food coloring, you can also use a bit of jello powder.
Whether I color it or not depends on what I have planned to put on top of it that day. If I'm doing a sugar-free cherry pie filling, for example, I won't put more coloring in the filling. There's enough in the topping for the liver to deal with.
16 ounces softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
sugar substitute equal to 1 cup sugar
1 cup water (separated)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
If you have a blender, this is quick and easy to do. Just toss the cream cheese, vanilla, sugar substitute, and 3/4 cup of water into the blender. Cover and whirl away.
While that's mixing, add the rest of the water (1/4 cup) to a small sauce pan and sprinkle with unflavored gelatin. Stir until it's combined as well as possible. Heat the water, stirring constantly, just until all of the granules of gelatin are melted into the water.
Pour the dissolved gelatin into the blender. Cover the blender and whirl until smooth. You'll need to stir this a bit a couple of times, to make sure the cream cheese gets well blended, if you have a cheaper blender like I do.
Once smooth, you can then pour the filling directly into your square baking dish right from the blender! Chill for several hours in the refrigerator until set. Just before serving, top with assorted berries.
If you're on Atkins 20 Induction or Atkins 2002 Induction, I'd leave out the nut crust. Color the filling pink or blue, and then top with whipped cream to serve.
Keep the Holidays Fun!
A few years ago, we went to a country western concert for the Fourth-of-July, rather than having a party centered on eating. It was a nice outing, and we had loads of fun!
I honestly don’t remember what we ate. I just remember the time we spent with our closest friends. That's what made the day memorable for me.
When you're in the beginning of your low-carb lifestyle, or even if you've made it half way to goal, this can sound a bit contrived, I know. But the whole idea behind using the Atkins Nutritional Approach to eating is to find more appropriate ways to put some fun back into your life that don't necessarily involve food.
Yes, low-carb food can be fun to make and even funner to eat, but to truly make a low-carb diet your way of life, you need to be able to have fun without everything being about food.
For MORE party ideas, check out the following Related Post:
Low-Carb Superbowl Goodies