As you gather with friends and family to celebrate Independence Day this week, it can be difficult to keep track of your healthy habits, especially at a holiday cookout. Though there will probably be several tempting choices on the dessert table, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy something sweet without loading up on excessive fat and added sugars.

Take advantage of the fruits in season to create patriotic desserts! Guests at your barbecue will appreciate having something refreshing after a heavy meal, so put out a festive fruit platter with red, white, and blue fruits – such as strawberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon, blueberries, white peaches and bananas. Involve your whole family, and have the kids help you arrange them into a flag on your serving dish. For another kid friendly treat, pop your fruits onto skewers – or let the kids make individual fruit kebabs.

Meat and vegetables aren’t the only things that can go on the grill. Grilling fruits intensifies their flavor and serving them with a small scoop of ice cream, frozen yogurt, or fresh whipped cream is a healthier alternative to heavy cakes, cookies, and pies. Choose firm fruits for the grill, such as pineapples, peaches, mango, or watermelon. If you think you need a little extra sweetness, brush your fruit with a little honey or maple syrup before placing on the grill. Make sure to cook fruit using indirect heat so it does not overcook.

Check out the recipe below for a fun way to incorporate fruits into a healthy and patriotic July 4th dessert. Bring it along to your next barbecue for everyone to enjoy!

Patriotic Berry Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups each of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 angel food cake
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup shredded toasted coconut

Directions:

Cut your strawberries and angel food cake into 1-inch pieces. Stir honey into the heavy cream and whip until peaks form. In either a large serving bowl or individual glasses, alternately layer cake, berries, and whipped cream until ingredients are used up. Before serving, top parfait with shredded coconut.

Sources: Time Health, Whole Foods Market. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.