Now that the kids are out of school for the summer, it almost time for our favorite summer holiday: 4th of July!
Our summer budget can be blown pretty quickly whenever we host one of these parties. But there are some great ways I have found to still make some delicious food, stick to our budget and have a great 4th of July party.
I have noticed that most of the food I run across at these 4th of July cookouts are usually not so healthy. Most people bring things such as:
- Hot dogs
- Potato Chips
- Prepackaged Coleslaw
- Prepackaged Potato Salad
- Baked Beans with chunks of meat
- Cakes and Pies
I’m not saying that these foods don’t taste good, because of course they do. But, they don’t do much for our summer figures, the way we feel or how much money we spend on food that doesn’t really fill us up.
As a Holistic Health Advisor, I have a hard time spending that much money on food that doesn’t make me feel good or do much positive for my body. So, I make a point to bring food that is more nutrient dense but still tastes and looks great. These types of dishes don’t cost a whole lot for me make or buy either, which is a big bonus.
If you are the lucky host of a 4th of July cookout, then most of the costs, and planning, usually falls on your plate.
The first decision that has to be made when hosting is which dishes are you planning to have. And don’t forget to include beverage options, because those can really cost you some money.
Once those things have been determined, then it is time to send out invites. But, deciding if you will provide everything or if you want to make your party more of a pot luck style, should cross your mind first.
Personally, I prefer pot luck style and ask that everybody sign up to bring a dish. I like to do this because I love to see what creative things people choose to bring. Plus, it seriously cuts down on my expenses as the host, which I happen to be a huge fan of!
We all expect to find different types of chips and dips at a 4th of July party, since this is usual party fare. But I like to spice things up a little bit with my chip choices. Instead of bringing the typical potato chip or tortilla chip, I like to bring something a bit different.
We are lucky that there are so many options now for chips, that are not only healthier but taste great too.
Some of my favorite chip choices to bring are:
- Garden of Eatin Blue Chips
- Trader Joe’s Black Bean and Quinoa Chips
- Trader Joe’s Veggie and Flaxseed Chips
- Trader Joe’s Tortilla Chips Seasoned with Brussel Sprouts
- Way Better Snacks Sweet Chili Chips
All of these chips range from around $2.50 – $4.00 per bag, depending on when and where you purchase them. I like to check my Ibotta app before I shop, to see if any of these chips have a cashback deal first, because that can save me even more money. And I am all about saving money!
These chips have all been huge hits because they are an unexpected party surprise, and they are delicious!I like to check my Ibotta app before I shop because that can save me even more money. I am all about saving money. Click To Tweet
4th of July Party Dip
You can’t have a great party without some great dips. The types I am used to seeing at these parties are usually:
- Guacamole (which I LOVE, but it can become boring pretty quickly)
- Cheese dip
- 7 layer bean dip
I happen to like all of these dip choices, but they can get old seeing the same old dips at parties. Therefore, I like to switch up the dip choices to bring more variety to the party.
Some of my favorite dips to bring are:
- Trader Joe’s Artichoke & Jalapeno Dip
- Trader Joe’s Sour Cream & Spinach Dip
- Trader Joe’s Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip – low in calories and carbs, but high in Vitamin A & C
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – if you pair it with Organic Blue Corn Chips, then you are also bringing some more red, white and blue to the party!
Overall, these dip prices can range from $1.25 – $4.00, depending upon which one you choose and if there are any sales, or Ibotta rebates, happening. Sometimes Ibotta has deals for “any brand,” and that is one of my favorite things to take advantage of, since they don’t always feature the brand of food that I am purchasing.
One of my favorite things to make, not just for summer parties, but in general, are popsicles. These can be really easy to make, much healthier than the store bought brands and well within our budget also.
Here is how we make them:
- Get a variety of fresh fruit from your local Farmer’s Market and then freeze it
- If you don’t have a great Farmer’s Market near you, then purchase frozen fruit
- Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth
- Freeze in popsicle molds until solid
Here are some great examples of red, white and blue popsicle options:
- Red popsicles – strawberries, raspberries and/or watermelon and sweetened vanilla almond milk
- White popsicles – banana, coconut milk and sweetened vanilla almond milk
- Blue popsicles – blueberries and blackberries mixed with sweetened vanilla almond milk and possibly a touch of local honey
We just made some popsicles this past weekend out of fresh pineapple, frozen mango, and organic lemonade that was on sale. They were delicious, nutrient dense, and budget-friendly at only $.29 per serving!
Parfaits are another great option because they are so easy to make and you can really get creative with the ingredients. Here is how we make them:
- 8oz clear plastic cup
- Layer with Greek Vanilla Yogurt
- Granola (I prefer gluten free granola due to the fact that 2 of us have Celiac and a lot of people follow a gluten free diet now)
- Repeat layer one more time
- Top with whipped cream, if desired
You can certainly switch up the fruits, the yogurt and the granola if desired. I like this blend because it keeps the red, white and blue theme going, but there are plenty of other fruits to choose from.
One of the best ways to save money on the fruits is to stick with locally available fruits first. Stop by your local Farmer’s Market towards the end of the day and see what they have. A lot of times farmers are willing to give a discount at the end of the day since they are trying to get rid of the rest of their produce.
This is a trick I have used quite frequently and it has saved me a ton of money. Plus, we have been introduced to a lot of new fruits and vegetables that we wouldn’t have been otherwise.
Overall, there are a lot of ways to bring new and exciting dishes to a 4th of July party that won’t kill your budget, but these are just a few of my favorites.
What dishes have you incorporated into your 4th of July party to make it more budget friendly, but still delicious?