Rebecca has posted some great and festive recipes for the 4th of July, and I love all the fun foods I've seen online recently. Independence Day treats tend to incorporate our berry friends, which is a perfect topper to any treat! The thing I've noticed about most festive foods is that in order to get the patriotic blue, people use blueberries, so this post is dedicated to those little balls of good nutrition!
Blueberries are packed with fiber (helps with digestive health), vitamin C (helps with immune system, iron absorption, and collagen formation), manganese (helps with bone health and energy production), and phytonutrients like polyphenols (contains antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of some diseases like heart disease and cancer), and are low in fat and calories (1). They make a perfect summer treat!
Side note: You may have heard blueberries referred to as a "super food," a popular term meaning it is a food that everyone needs as part of their diet to promote overall health and prevent certain diseases. Blueberries are pretty awesome, but remember that variety and balance are the key to good health, not obsessing over any specific food. You don't need to have a certain amount of blueberries everyday, but you should be trying to follow the Choose My Plate recommendations and Dietary Guidelines for Americans when making food choices.
To choose a good blueberry, look for ones that are plump, similar in size, and have a dusty blue color (2). You can store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If you buy them fresh, make sure to wash them before eating. Don't forget that frozen blueberries are great too!
Here's a bit of trivia for you: early American colonists boiled blueberries in milk to make gray paint. (2). Now, I suggest you eat the blueberries, but to each his own...
Thank you, blueberries, for being a delicious and nutritious food we can all turn to when we need to feel a little more patriotic! Mix them into smoothies, pancakes, muffins; top them on your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt, parfaits, or salads; use them in syrups and marinades. The options are endless!
Happy Independence Day, and thank you to all those who have played and continue to play a role in protecting the freedoms we treasure in the United States of America!
(1) U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Blueberry nutrition. Available at
http://www.blueberrycouncil.org/healthy-living/blueberry-nutrition/. Accessed July 4, 2014.
(2) Fruits & Veggies More Matter. Blueberries: Nutrition, selection, storage. Available at http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/blueberries-nutrition-selection-storage. Accessed July 4, 2014.
Need a last minute dessert for your 4th of July party? Here you go. It's beautiful, patriotic, unique, and so so good. Also, it's pretty easy to make, especially if you have helpers...
Have you tried a whoopie pie? It's like a cake sandwich. So delicious. I've got a whoopie pie recipe book by Sarah Bilingsley and Amy Treadwell that I based the cake and frosting recipes on. Buy the book it's cute and full of creative and super yummy recipes.
Ok, so I love oatmeal cookies. Everyone tells me I'm weird for choosing an oatmeal raisin cookie over a chocolate chip cookie, so sue me! But, while almost all chocolate chip cookies are way good, good oatmeal raisin cookies are harder to find-because they have to have the cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves to be so incredible. So, if you're like me & love a spiced oatmeal cookie, use this recipe, if not a plain white cake recipe would be as good!
No nutrition information here, the whole wheat flour, oats, and fruit make it a healthier choice. Not everything you eat needs to be "really healthy," treat yourself occasionally with something really delicious!
Check out this recipe from Bobby Flay on the Food Network for blue corn pancakes. You can just make the pancake part & add whipped cream or goat cheese to top them, with syrup of course!
Stay tuned for more 4th of July, red white and blue food inspiration!