Healthier recipes for July 4 cookouts

July 4 is a time for fireworks, family and all things red, white and blue.

Are you planning on cooking out or barbecuing for the holiday, but trying to keep it healthy?

This recipe for grilled vegetables is a nutritious and tasty choice.


3 bell peppers (red/yellow), seeded and quartered

3 yellow squash, sliced length-wise, then cut into 1/2” pieces

3 zucchini, sliced length-wise, then cut into 1/2” pieces

1 Japanese eggplant, sliced length-wise, then cut into 1/2” pieces

12 mushrooms, cremini

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut in half

2 red onions, cut into wedges


Place all vegetables in a large bowl and toss with two tablespoons of olive oil, three tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, two garlic cloves (crushed), and two tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary.

Brush grill basket with olive oil.

Place vegetables in grill basket and place on grill.

Grill for 8-12 minutes.

Use salt and pepper to taste.

And for dessert, here’s a delicious recipe for Red, White and Blue Berry Tarts! It’s a healthier choice and patriotic – perfect for July 4.


2 whole graham crackers (four squares)

4 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon powdered (confectioners’) sugar

2 cups mixed berries: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries

4 paper muffin cups


Finely crush graham crackers and divide crumbs along four muffin cups. A muffin tray will help you shape them correctly.

In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar with a whisk to make no-cook pastry cream. Put mixture on top of graham cracker crumbs.

Top with berries. You can save some berries to decorate the plate. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

The recipe makes four tarts. Each tart contains about 105 calories, 5 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 6 milligrams of cholesterol, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 250 milligrams of sodium.

Have a safe and happy July 4!

Caldwell Shackelford Photo3

By Ann Caldwell and Maureen Shackelford, nutritionists and registered dietitians at Anne Arundel Medical Center. To reach them call 443-481-5555.

Originally published June 27, 2017. Last updated June 29, 2020.

Leave a Reply