Memorial Day is a time for reflection and remembrance, but it’s also a day to gather with friends and family to celebrate. Whether you’re planning a backyard barbecue, a picnic in the park, or just a casual get-together, food is always a centerpiece of the festivities. However, many traditional Memorial Day snacks and dishes tend to be high in calories, sugar, and fat, which can derail your healthy eating goals. Don’t worry, though; we’ve got you covered with some healthy snack ideas that are both delicious and nutritious.
1. Fresh Fruit Skewers
Nothing says summer quite like fresh fruit, and skewers make it easy to enjoy a variety of flavors. Cut up a selection of your favorite fruits (think berries, pineapple, melon, and grapes), and thread them onto wooden skewers for a colorful and refreshing snack. For an extra kick, drizzle with a little honey and lime juice.
2. Greek Yogurt Dip
Dips are a staple at any party, but they can be loaded with calories and unhealthy fats. Swap out the usual sour cream and mayo for Greek yogurt, which is high in protein and lower in fat. Mix in some herbs like dill or parsley, along with a little garlic and lemon juice, for a tangy and tasty dip that pairs perfectly with veggie sticks or pita chips.
3. Hummus Stuffed Mini Peppers
If you’re a fan of hummus, try stuffing it into sweet mini peppers for a fun and flavorful snack. Simply slice the peppers in half, scoop out the seeds, and fill each half with a spoonful of hummus. You can also sprinkle on some chopped herbs or a little paprika for extra pizzazz.
4. Cucumber Roll-Ups
Cucumbers are a refreshing and hydrating veggie that make the perfect base for roll-ups. Simply slice the cucumber into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler, and then layer on some sliced turkey or chicken, along with a dollop of hummus or cream cheese. Roll up tightly and secure with a toothpick for a satisfying and healthy finger food.
5. Quinoa Salad
Salads are a great way to incorporate plenty of veggies and whole grains into your diet, but they can be boring or unappetizing. Quinoa salad, on the other hand, is both delicious and packed with nutrients. Cook up a batch of quinoa according to the package instructions, and then toss with some chopped veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. Dress with a simple vinaigrette made from olive oil, lemon juice, and a touch of honey.
6. Sweet Potato Chips
Potato chips are a classic snack, but they’re often fried and high in fat. Switch things up by making your own sweet potato chips at home. Slice a sweet potato thinly with a mandoline or sharp knife, and then toss with a little olive oil and sea salt. Bake in the oven at 375°F for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.
7. Grilled Pineapple
Grilling isn’t just for meat; you can also grill up some delicious fruit for a healthy dessert or snack. Pineapple is particularly tasty when grilled, as it caramelizes and takes on a smoky flavor. Simply slice the pineapple into rounds or spears, and grill over medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a drizzle of honey.
8. Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
For a sweet treat that won’t derail your healthy eating habits, try dipping fresh strawberries in melted dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and is lower in sugar than milk chocolate, making it a healthier option. Simply melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler or microwave, dip the strawberries in, and let them cool on a sheet of parchment paper until the chocolate hardens.
9. Watermelon Feta Skewers
Watermelon is a summer staple, and it pairs perfectly with tangy feta cheese. Cut up cubes of watermelon and feta cheese, and thread them onto skewers for a refreshing and savory snack. For an extra burst of flavor, drizzle with balsamic glaze or sprinkle with chopped mint.
10. Veggie and Cheese Platter
Sometimes the simplest snacks are the best. Create a platter of sliced veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes, along with cubes of cheese like cheddar or gouda. Serve with a side of hummus or Greek yogurt dip for a satisfying and nutritious snack.
11. Mango Salsa
Salsa is a classic party food, but it’s often loaded with sodium and preservatives. Make your own fresh mango salsa for a healthier and tastier option. Chop up fresh mango, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño, and mix with a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt. Serve with tortilla chips or as a topping for grilled chicken or fish.
Edamame are a protein-packed snack that are perfect for munching on while socializing. Simply steam some frozen edamame according to the package instructions, and sprinkle with sea salt or a drizzle of soy sauce for a savory and satisfying snack.
13. Caprese Salad Skewers
Caprese salad is a classic Italian dish that combines fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese. Thread cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and small balls of mozzarella cheese onto skewers for a portable and flavorful snack. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for an extra burst of flavor.
14. Berry Salad
Berries are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with antioxidants and fiber. Mix up a salad with a variety of berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, and add some sliced almonds or chopped mint for extra crunch and flavor. Dress with a simple vinaigrette made from olive oil, lemon juice, and a touch of honey.
15. Chicken Skewers
Grilled chicken skewers are a protein-packed and flavorful option for a Memorial Day barbecue. Cut up boneless, skinless chicken breasts into cubes, and thread onto skewers along with your favorite veggies like bell peppers, onions, and zucchini. Brush with a marinade made from olive oil, garlic, and your favorite spices, and grill over medium-high heat until cooked through.
Overall, Memorial Day is a time to celebrate and enjoy the company of loved ones. With these healthy snack options, you can indulge in delicious food while still sticking to your healthy eating goals. Happy Memorial Day!
Eating healthy during Memorial Day celebrations can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By choosing healthier snack options like fresh fruit skewers, hummus stuffed mini peppers, and grilled pineapple, you can still indulge in delicious treats without sabotaging your diet. Remember to stay hydrated, incorporate plenty of veggies and lean protein, and don’t forget to enjoy the festivities with family and friends.
Can I make the quinoa salad ahead of time?
- Absolutely! In fact, the flavors will meld together even more if you make it a few hours or even a day
Can I use different types of fruit for the fruit skewers?
- Definitely! Feel free to mix and match different fruits depending on your preferences and what’s in season.
How can I make the sweet potato chips extra crispy?
- Make sure to slice the sweet potato thinly and evenly, and spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. You can also sprinkle a little cornstarch on them before baking to help them crisp up.
Can I use a different type of cheese for the watermelon feta skewers?
- Absolutely! Try using goat cheese or ricotta instead of feta for a different flavor profile.
Can I make the chicken skewers on a grill pan instead of a barbecue grill?
- Yes, a grill pan works just as well if you don’t have access to an outdoor grill. Just make sure to cook the chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through.