Looking for red, white, and blue foods for your July 4 celebration? By choosing fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables and making a few simple swaps, you can plan a festive and healthy gathering.

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Colorful Foods for Heart Health

When it comes to heart-healthy food, a colorful variety is best.

Eating different types of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products can give your body the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to keep working the right way. And a heart-healthy diet can help you keep your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar in check, lowering your risk for heart disease.

Summer is a great time for colorful eating, with so many fresh fruits and vegetables in season. From corn and tomatoes to berries and peaches, your local farmer’s market is a great place to start when planning healthy July 4 meals. Beyond the produce aisle, you can make simple, healthier choices that lighten up your main dishes, sides, and desserts. 

Ramp up the Reds

  • Set a bowl of cherries or red grapes on your picnic table for snacking.
  • Toss raspberries and strawberries into fruit salad.
  • Slice up watermelon for a refreshing side dish.
  • Add beets and radishes to your favorite leafy green salad.
  • Serve tomatoes for snacking and sandwich toppings.
  • Remember those red peppers for your veggie tray.

Choose the Right Whites

You probably know that red and blue fruits and vegetables pack in plenty of nutrients, but what about white foods? It’s important to remember to pick the right whites, limiting foods processed with white flour and sugar, like cakes, cookies, and pies.

  • Opt for lean protein like fish or white meat chicken for your main dish instead of hamburgers and hot dogs.
  • Make a healthier fruit or vegetable dip with low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
  • Choose low-fat or fat-free cheese for sandwiches.
  • Add cauliflower to your veggie tray.
  • Grill white corn for a healthier side dish.
  • Serve white peaches or nectarines for a refreshing dessert.

Get the Blues (and Purples)

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant that can help prevent blood clots, as well as vitamin C and other nutrients that support overall health.

  • Make patriotic fruit skewers with blueberries, bananas, and strawberries.
  • Add blackberries to fruit salad.
  • Set out a bowl of Concord grapes for snacking.
  • Grill eggplant, leaving the skin on.
  • Toss purple cabbage into your favorite salad.
  • Serve plums for dessert.

Looking for more heart-healthy recipes? Check out our blog post on 6 fun heart-healthy recipes today! To learn more, visit the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute or call 1-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484).

About Heart and Vascular Institute

The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine. We strive to provide the most advanced, cutting-edge care for our patients, treating both common and complex conditions. We also offer services that seek to improve the health of our communities, including heart screenings, free clinics, and heart health education. Find an expert near you.