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Healthy 4th of July Meal Ideas

Healthy 4th of july meal ideas

The 4th of July is getting so close. If you have plans for potlucks or get together’s people are probably already asking what you will be bringing. If you are eating with an omni group there will be some pressure to bring food they will like too.

Don’t worry I’ve got a ton of ideas that will make everyone happy!

Healthy 4th of July Meal Ideas

Portobello Burger and Potato Salad

Chances are there will be a grill nearby. Why not grill up some Portobello Burgers or Avocado Grillers?

Vegan BBQ Sandwich...You'll never guess the secret ingredient!


If you need to make your meal ahead of time Vegan BBQ Sandwiches made from spaghetti squash keeps warm in a Crock Pot for a low maintenance meal.

Healthy side dishes are an easy substitute and less likely to be noticed as “different” by your friends.

Sweet and Tangy Gluten-Free Pasta Salad is picnic perfect

Try this oil-free pasta salad, you can make it gluten-free as well. They most typical side dish might be Potato Salad so make sure you bring this healthy version. You can also substitute healthier ingredients to make baked beans and corn on the cob healthier.

gluten free vegan brownies


Don’t forget dessert! I usually make Brownies because I can make them a day ahead but sometimes I’ll make an Apple or Strawberry Rhubarb Pie on the fly with Wholly Wholesome Pie Crust (they have a gluten-free version) or Sunbutter Cookies because they are safe for peanut allergies.

Strawberry Lemonade

Don’t forget the drinks! There will probably be lots of soda but skip it for fresh Strawberry Lemonade instead.

Do you have plans for the weekend? What will you be eating? You can scroll through the Recipe Page for more healthy 4th of July Meal Ideas!


Meal Plan Monday: June 29, 2015

Plant-Based Meal Plan with Quick and Easy Meals

Last week I shared a Meal Plan filled with meals that I cooked all in one afternoon using a Once a Week Cooking strategy. You can see the step-by-step run down and adapt it to your needs.

This week I’m going with something simpler and choosing meals than can be made quickly. We will have our basics like black beans and brown rice already cooked. The less time I have to spend cooking the more time I can spend on the fun stuff like swimming and having dance parties with my kids.

Some people wonder if we really get our kids to eat this way. Yes! Our kids eat very healthy. My husband is home with the boys regularly posts what they are eating on my Instagram. They get treats and unhealthy food occasionally but it isn’t everyday. We have come a long way. When we first adopted a plant-based diet my youngest was just starting to eat solid foods and my other son way addicted to fast food. It was a slow, purposeful change to healthy living but it is possible, it just takes time.

Plant-Based Meal Plan


Summer Berry Quinoa, we have strawberries, blueberries and blackberries

Breakfast Rice, I’ve been eating with strawberries, hemp seeds and milk.

Blueberry Oatmeal

Blueberry Muffins


Veggie Sandwich

Veggie Burritos with beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and guacamole

Taco Salad

Leftover Soup and Salad


Enchilada Soup I’m addicted to this right now so it will probably be on the meal plan every week for a while. I’ve been cooking it on the weekend for easy week day meals.

Veggie Pad Thai

Veggie Fajitas with Black Beans and Mexican Rice

One-Pot Pizza Pasta

Having a Meal Plan helps me to not stress about what we are having for dinner. It also gives me a chance to prep food for other days when I have time.

Have you made your meal plan for the week yet? Let’s get started. Don’t do anything else until you jot down (or leave in the comments) 3 meals you plan to make this week. Three meals isn’t a huge commitment but it will get you started.

Don’t forget to check out last weeks Once a Week Cooking post for more time saving ideas.

Once a Week Cooking

Once a Week Cooking for vegan, plant-based, gluten-free foodies

Sometimes it’s nice to go a whole week without cooking. Sure, some people do that all the time, they just eat take out or fast food. I’m talking about a whole week eating homemade, plant-based food without having to cook it everyday. It’s possible if you do Once a Week Cooking.

I’ve shared this before, in fact it’s regularly one of my top pins.

Once a Week Cooking

If you want to try Once a Week Cooking I recommend that you plan meals that will reheat well, serve you for more than one meal and give yourself several hours to get the cooking done.

I’ve selected several recipes that meet this criteria, they are on this week’s meal plan.

You can adapt this to suit your time and dietary constraints.

What to Cook

Plan to start with the items that will take the longest too cook or that you need for other meals. If you are cooking beans you will probably want to start with those. If you are using canned or already have beans cooked you can move on. I already had beans and rice cooked when I started, we usually have beans and rice cooked at all times.

I also use multiple cooking options, for instance I cook beans in my Instant Pot, the casserole in my Crock Pot, most other things on my stove and the lasagna in my oven. The sweet potatoes can be made in the Instant Pot, Crock Pot or the oven.

Steps to Getting it All Done

1. Cook beans and rice. Either ahead or start here.

2. Get the Crock Pot going with the casserole.

3. Start cooking the lentils, quinoa and Mexican Rice on the stove.

4. Start preparing ingredients for the Lasagna. (The lasagna takes a long time so you can save time by eliminating this).

5. Wash and bake sweet potatoes.

6. Chop veggies and make the soup. (Beans and rice must be cooked in order to make the soup.)

7. Prepare additional veggies for salad.


You can simplify this with a few modifications. This was more than enough food for us this week.

1. Cook fewer foods.

Instead cooking black beans and lentils just cook one and use it in place of both. Instead of cooking plain brown rice, Mexican Rice and quinoa choose one, but make sure you cook enough for all of your meals.

2. Have Foods Prepped.

You may be wondering, isn’t’ the purpose of once a week cooking to only cook once? Yes, however some foods like beans and grains take a while to cook. If you do this ahead of time you can knock an hour or more off of your cooking time.

3. Skip Difficult Recipes.

The lasagna recipe I made isn’t really difficult but it is a multi-step recipe that takes a lot of time. Replace it with a pasta dish instead and you’ll save a lot of time.

Do you batch cook or do once a week cooking? I’m considering creating a short batch cooking eCourse if there is enough interest.

Need Help With Your Photos?

I know I can use all of the help I can get!

I discovered a great deal and I wanted to pass it on to you. The people who produce the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle have created The Ultimate Digital Photography Bundle! My photos have come a long way but they aren’t as good as I’d like them to me. Sometimes I’ll take 80 photos and none of them will really stand out as a great photo.

When I heard about this new bundle I was so excited because I’m ready to take my food pictures to the next level.

I’d also like to learn to take good pictures of my kids. I have few decent pictures of them but this bundle will give me the tools to capture great photos for my blog and for my family.

The Ultimate Digital Photography Bundle (Beginner’s Edition) contains a curated collection of ebooks and video training guides to help you become a better photographer. I’m sticking with this beginner’s version but there are more advanced versions available.

For months I’ve been eyeing Tasty Food Photography from Pinch of Yum! You can buy it on their site for $29. You can also buy Eat Pretty Things from Eat Your Beets for $29. Or you can get the bundle that includes both plus so much more for $37!

All the resources have been provided by professional, world-renowned photographers who are experts in teaching others – even complete beginners. You won’t need to switch up to a more expensive camera to make full use of the bundle (even if you just use your iPhone for photographs)! You can learn everything in little chunks – whenever you have a spare moment.

Click here to see the full range of ebooks and training courses included in The Ultimate Photography Bundle (Beginner’s Edition).

There’s even better news! They’re also throwing in a FREE copy of FX Photo Studio Pro software from MacPhun (which provides stunning filters and photography effects) worth $29.99!

Click here to buy The Ultimate Digital Photography Bundle (Beginner’s Edition) for just $37.

I have a lot of blogger friends that take the most amazing photos. I make amazing food but I know this bundle will help my photos look as delicious as they taste.

If you are beyond the beginner edition you can also check out the Intermediate Edition or the Advanced/Pro Edition.

This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase I make a percentage at no extra cost to you. 

Meal Plan Monday: June 21, 2015

A Plant-Based (Vegan) Meal Plan that is also gluten-free! I used once a week cooking to get this done in a few hours so I don't have to cook again this week.

We had a great Father’s Day weekend. We took our boys to see their first major league baseball game; it was my first game too. It was a lot of fun and a much bigger production that the minor league games I’ve attended. I think next time we will have to go without the kids and make a date night out of it.

On Father’s Day we decided to take the easy way out for brunch and got Van’s Gluten-Free Waffles, Silk yogurt (alternative) and fruit. It was easy and my kids were super excited because the usually eat mostly homemade meals.

This weeks meal plan is looking good! The best part about it is that it is all done. Yes, you read that right! It’s been a while since I documented a Once a Week Cooking day so I decided to do it again. You’ll be seeing the new post soon.

Meal Plan Monday


This week will be Sweet Potatoes, Breakfast Quinoa and Summer Berry Quinoa.


We will have leftovers for lunch along with Black Bean Mango Salad, Quinoa-Lentil Salad and Bean and Rice Burritos.


As previously mentioned, everything is cooked for the week but I haven’t cut up all the veggies yet. They last longer whole. In addition to the items above we also have black beans, Mexican Rice and quinoa cooked and ready to be mixed into quick meals. We also have:

Vegan Lasagna (it’s also gluten-free)

Enchilada Soup you can also try this version

Cheesy Crock Pot Broccoli and Rice Casserole

All we will need to do now is reheat meals and wash and chop fruit and veggies. One of the great things about this is that I don’t have to heat the house up at night to cook a big meal. I can do a quick reheat which works perfectly because we have one more week of swim lessons and by the time they are over at 6:00 I’m ready to relax.

What did you do this weekend? Did you cook a big Father’s Day meal?

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