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Celebrate Independence Day the healthy way

The Fourth of July doesn't only have to consist of fatty foods or sugary sweets.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Small changes can make a big difference – this is so true in food preparation! Registered Dietitian Sara Nychypor from Mercy Health suggests using fresh local ingredients and seasonal fruits and vegetables to add healthy options to the table.  

Check out some of the healthy recipes Sara brought to My West Michigan for your Fourth of July picnic!

Holiday Menu:

  • Chicken Drumsticks – remove the skin to reduce fat and let the spices soak in
  • Broccoli Salad – good source of fiber, vitamin K and vitamin C. 1 cup provides over 100% of your daily need for vitamin C! 
  • Mexican Street Corn – dressed up with lime juice and chili powder, corn is rich in B vitamins
  • Fresh Berry Pie – strawberries are in season in Michigan, and berries are a great source of fiber and rich antioxidants

Chicken Drumsticks
12 chicken drumsticks
3 T brown sugar
1 T paprika
1 T chili powder
1 T dry mustard
1 T cumin
1 T garlic
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper 

Mix brown sugar and all spices together. Remove skins from chicken and place into a gallon size Ziploc bag. Add olive oil, then toss with spices. You may keep in the fridge overnight to let the spices soak in. 

Crock pot: cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Remove from crock and finish on the grill or under the broiler. Top with your favorite BBQ sauce. 

Oven: bake at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes, finish on the grill. 

Mexican Street Corn
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tsp lime juice
1-2 tsp chili powder
Dash of salt and pepper
4-6 ears of sweet corn 

Boil corn. Mix all ingredients and slather onto ears of corn. Grill for 3-4 minutes each side. 

Broccoli Salad
1 head broccoli, chopped
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup dried cranberries or cherries
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional) 

½ cup mayonnaise
1 T sugar
1 T wine vinegar
Optional dressing: use an Asian sesame ginger dressing off the shelf 

Fresh Berry Pie
1 prepared graham cracker crust
1 quart strawberries or other berry
½ cup sugar
2 T corn starch
1 (4oz) package gelatin 

Place berries into the crust. Boil sugar, water and corn starch for 1 minute. Stir in gelatin. Pour mixture over berries and chill in fridge until firm. 

Recipes courtesy: Registered Dietitian Sara Nychypor, Mercy Health

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