The United Tastes of America, Independence Day Foods

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The Fourth of July is a great occasion to honor traditional foods grown right here in the USA. Let’s take some time to celebrate these foods, including meat, veggies, fruits and even beverages – that are just as American as apple pie!

Let’s talk about Chicken

This barbecuing beauty probably originated in one of these Southeast states: Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Arkansas or Mississippi. For the best protein punch with less fat, choose skinless chicken breasts. Chicken is an excellent source of protein, B Vitamins, phosphorus and selenium. And most BBQ sauces are nice low-calorie addition.

What about Mustard?

A shout-out goes to North Dakota for mustard, where more than 60 percent of US mustard seeds are harvested. With no calories, fat, or cholesterol, mustard is a great condiment option for sandwiches, hot dogs, salads, and more.

How about Tomatoes?

Yes, they are in ketchup, but you’ll get way more bang for your nutrition buck if you eat them whole! These bright red fruits often come from Florida and California, and offer vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and the antioxidant lycopene.

Then there’s Potatoes

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What’s a 4th of July picnic without potato salad? The white potato is often seen as a “bad guy”, but it’s actually packed with nutrition and naturally low in calories. One medium potato delivers a good share of potassium and vitamin C. So let’s set the spud record straight, and thank Idaho for leading potato production, followed by Washington, Wisconsin and Oregon.

How about an Ear of Corn?

Nothing says summer like corn on the cob! With much of the corn grown in the Midwest used to feed our animals, the sweet corn we eat usually comes from Florida, California, Georgia, Washington and New York! Corn is packed full of vitamin C, beta-carotene, B vitamins, and fiber.

If Beer is your beverage

It likely came from one of the many breweries of California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon or Wisconsin. You may be surprised to learn that beer can be good for your health. Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, including beer has been shown to improve heart health. But, remember that beer has calories and of course, drink responsibly – thus limiting intake to one 12-oz. beer for women and two for men.

Make watermelon your sweet treat this Fourth of July

It is low in calories but full of antioxidants and vitamins C and A. This melon’s high water content helps keep you hydrated during the hot days of July. You can thank California for this sweet and juicy fruit (or maybe Florida, Texas, Georgia or Indiana).

Enjoy these foods on July 4th and as well as the rest of the summer.

Jennifer M. Wood, MS, RD

Jennifer M Wood, MS, RDN is registered dietitian nutritionist and successful food and nutrition consultant in Southeastern Minnesota. As the founder of a nation-wide gourmet food company, Wood wrote Jenny’s Country Kitchen…recipes for making homemade a little easier! (2003), which is a timeless collection of make-ahead, freeze-ahead and pantry-stocking recipes and time saving tips to help busy families put nutritious food on table. Wood graduated with a pre-med bachelors degree in nutritional science in 2001, completed her dietetic internship in 2007 and went on to complete a master’s degree in food and nutrition in 2011.

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