Diabetes-Friendly Tips for 4th of July

Navigating Independence Day and Other Summer BBQs

Grilled veggies
Gabriel Bucataru/Stocksy United

The diabetes-friendly 4th of July food options available at barbecues across America generally have something in common—they're not always the best choices for someone on a diabetes diet.

Tips for Staying on Track

Here are some tips you can follow for staying on track while you enjoy food, fun, family, and friends at barbecues and picnics throughout the summer:

  • Grilling is a low-fat cooking method that fits well into a diabetes meal plan. So, opt for a grilled chicken breast or burger rather than fried chicken. If turkey, veggie, or chicken burgers are available, that's an even better way to go.
  • At a get-together, it is easy to start talking and eating...and eating...and eating. Remember to be mindful about portions. Excessive carbohydrate intake can happen all too easily when one is distracted with pleasantries.
  • Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables can help to round out a 4th of July meal plan. Offer to bring a tossed or fruit salad to make sure there's something appropriate to eat, and you'll earn kudos from the host for helping out.

Suggested BBQ Meal Plan

Try something along the lines of the following meal plan at your barbecues this summer. Intake statistics for the full day ring up at 164 grams carbohydrate, 1,570 calories and 30 percent calories from fat.

Note that this meal plan is higher in fat than most meal plans offered on this site, although still within guidelines. It is planned as such to allow you more flexibility—and also to show you how an occasional cheeseburger can fit into a diabetes meal plan.

Breakfast:

45 grams carbohydrate, 315 calories, 14 percent calories from fat

  • 1/2 whole-wheat English muffin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons low-fat peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup cantaloupe, chunked
  • 8 grapes
  • 6 ounces fat-free vanilla yogurt
  • Coffee with fat-free half-and-half

Spread peanut butter over warm, toasted English muffin.

Put cantaloupe chunks and grapes on wooden skewers for a fancier holiday presentation. Serve fruit skewers with yogurt for dipping.

Lunch:

40 grams carbohydrate, 440 calories, 28 percent calories from fat

  • 3 ounces grilled chicken breast
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup grilled corn
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat Italian salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup chopped salad greens
  • 1 peach

Marinate chicken breast in 1 tablespoon low-fat Italian salad dressing for 1 hour, then grill. Grill corn, then cut off cob. Mix warm corn with diced tomato and avocado. Serve the mix over salad greens tossed with 1 tablespoon low-fat Italian salad dressing. Enjoy a fresh juicy peach for dessert.

Dinner:

58 grams carbohydrate, 600 calories, 36 percent calories from fat

  • 3 ounces lean ground beef burger
  • 1 ounce Swiss cheese
  • 1 whole-wheat hamburger bun
  • 1 cup sweet potato, sliced thin
  • 1 cup grilled asparagus pieces

Grill beef burger, then melt cheese over​ the burger. Grill sweet potato slices and asparagus on a piece of aluminum foil sprayed with non-fat cooking spray.

Season sweet potato and asparagus lightly with salt and pepper.

Snack:

21 grams carbohydrate, 215 calories, 44 percent calories from fat

  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 6 almonds
  • 1 cup skim milk

Toss berries with almonds and serve with a glass of skim milk.

Continue Reading