This may be your biggest cookout of the year. Here are ways to keep the meal bursting with patriotic flavor–with way fewer calories.
Brew a Fresh Fruit Sangria
Skip the sugar-packed margarita mixes, and stir up this sparkling 140-calorie treat. It’s sweetened with real fruit and saves 30g sugar. Combine 1 cup pitted and halved cherries, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup quartered strawberries, ½ cup chopped peaches, and 1/3 cup brandy in a large pitcher; chill 2 hours. Stir in 1 cup pineapple juice and 1 (750-milliliter) bottle chilled prosecco. Garnish with fresh mint. Serves 8. Savings: 160 calories
Slim the Slaw
A little heart-healthy canola mayo goes a long way to keep our slaw creamy, while mustard seeds and a pinch of ground red pepper boost flavor (try Mardi Gras Slaw). You’ll also cut out 14g fat and 300mg sodium. Savings: 166 calories
Potato Salad, Yes. Mayo, No.
Shave calories and sodium with our version, which tosses crisp-tender taters in a tangy herb-infused olive oil sauce (try Roasted Potato Salad with Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette). Savings: 115 calories
Lay on Lots of Crunchy Crudités
Give the chips and onion dip a day off. Nosh instead on a platter of fresh vegetables, and serve with our simple, creamy herb dip: Combine 4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, ¼ cup nonfat buttermilk, 2 tablespoons fresh chives, 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 2 minced garlic cloves; beat with a mixer until smooth. Savings: 150 calories
Trim the Trifle
Billowing clouds of whipped cream send a traditional patriotic trifle into 500-plus calorie territory. Keep the berry goodness and light texture with angel food cake, but swap the cream for 12 ounces reduced-calorie whipped topping spiked with 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier. You’ll save 15g sat fat with this lighter layer. Savings: 250 calories
Pressed for time? Trade the trifle for ice-cream sandwiches—a cool, handheld, 160-calorie treat.
Build a Leaner Burger
Start with a 90% lean ground beef base to save 100 calories and 4g sat fat (per raw 4-ounce patty) over the 80/20 grind. A thin slice of cheese adds melty goodness for just 45 calories. Guacamole adds creamy zip with only 25 calories per tablespoon and 120mg less sodium than ketchup. Finish with farm-fresh tomatoes, red onion, and crisp greens for super-low-calorie flavor and crunch. Savings: 230 calories
Serve with whole-wheat buns for a 3g fiber boost over white.
Make Baked Beans Better
Dress up organic navy beans with fresh thyme and center-cut bacon. Our recipe (try Quick Classic Baked Beans) also saves 600mg sodium over canned pork ‘n’ beans. Savings: 192 calories
Photos: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley; Prop Styling: Cindy Barr