4th of July Food for Your Cookout 🍖
It’s time for some fireworks, food, and fun! All this cheer doesn’t have to sabotage your low-carb diet efforts. Whether you’re hosting or planning, creating a solid 4th of July menu with the right accompaniments will leave you feeling satisfied and festive.
4th of July Appetizers
I am all about the appetizers--I could practically fill up on these alone. It’s important to not let yourself get too hungry to keep your cravings and decision-making in check. All of these are packed with protein and veggies to kick the day off right.
- Buffalo chicken dip with romaine hearts
- Pickled vegetable tray with canned or jarred artichokes, olives, marinated mushrooms, and pickled peppers. Just watch out for added sugars in the ingredients listed and stick with the savory varieties.
- Crave-worthy raw vegetable tray with asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and radishes. Whip up a low-carb “hummus” using zucchini or serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing.
- Keto seven-layer dip layered with cooked taco meat, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced scallions, a thin sprinkling of salsa or drained pico de gallo, and sliced olives. Serve with sliced zucchini and red bell pepper dippers.
Keto Dinners for July 4th
Almost any center-of-plate protein is keto approved, as long as it’s not doused in sugary marinades or sauces.
- Hamburger patties sprinkled with steakhouse seasoning. Pick your fave, selecting from beef, bison, or turkey. Sprinkle salmon burgers with lemon pepper seasoning and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Serve in lettuce wraps or fork and knife it.
- Pounded chicken breasts marinated in apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and your favorite seasoning blend. Or use boneless skinless chicken thighs, which I prefer due to their juicy tenderness.
- Hot dogs. Ideally, go for those that are uncured and made with more simple ingredients.
- Tofu block pressed and marinated in soy sauce. Slice thickly before grilling.
Low Carb Side Dishes for July 4th
I love flavorful side dishes, serving myself just a spoonful of each to begin. Then I may go back for seconds of my favorite side dish. Try out these keto-approved side dishes:
- Grilled avocado. Cut an avocado in half, leaving the skin on. Brush the grates with oil and grill for a few minutes.
- Pickled cucumbers, marinated in rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a touch of your favorite no-carb sweetener.
- Grilled vegetable skewers. Pre-soak wooden skewers for 10 minutes, then add button or baby Bella mushrooms, zucchini and onion wedges, and a few cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and a drizzle of red wine vinegar or balsamic.
When it comes to choosing keto-friendly condiments, the thing to watch out for is added sugar in the ingredient list. Here are some of my favorites that are virtually carb-free:
- Regular mayonnaise (but watch out for salad dressing mayonnaise, which contains 2 grams sugar per tablespoon)
- Yellow or Dijon mustard
- Oil and vinegar
- Rubs and spices that are free of sugar
- Italian dressing that is free of added sugar
- Ranch and blue cheese dressing
- Hot sauce, including Buffalo hot sauce
Is ketchup keto-friendly?
Not exactly. 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains 5 grams carbs, while 1 packet of ketchup contains 2 grams. If you can’t go without ketchup, try an unsweetened version with no added sugar, containing only 2 grams of carbs per tablespoon.
Keto Dessert Ideas
Since almost all traditional desserts contain added sugar and flour, you’re going to have to get creative here.
- Go red, white and blue, with a platter lined with rows of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and unsweetened coconut. Berries are one of the lowest-carb fruits, with a half cup of raspberries containing 7 grams of carbs with 4 grams of fiber (3 grams net carbs), strawberries containing 6 grams of carbs with 1.5 grams of fiber (4.5 grams net carbs), and blueberries with 11 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber (9 grams net carbs). 2 tablespoons of unsweetened coconut comes in at under 2 grams of carbs. Serve a side of whipped heavy cream sweetened with your favorite zero-carb sweetener and you have yourself a cool and refreshing 4th of July dessert.
- When it comes to your favorite recipes like cookies and cake, swap grain flours with coconut or almond flour to drastically reduce carb count while boosting fiber and use a zero-carb sweetener in place of granulated sugar. You can also buy delicious, pre-made keto treats like HighKey’s Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies and Snickerdoodles which have only 1-2 grams of net carbs per serving.
Now you’re all set for enjoying a delicious and satisfying keto-friendly July 4th menu. Have a safe, fun, and happy Independence Day!
Michelle Dudash, RDN
Michelle Dudash is a registered dietitian nutritionist, Cordon Bleu-certified chef, and author of Clean Eating for Busy Families, revised & expanded. Subscribe to her monthly clean eating newsletter with free recipes and healthy eating tips at michelledudash.com.