The Fourth of July is a great occasion to honor traditional foods grown in the USA. Perhaps your looking for some 4th of July BBQ ideas or having a fourth of July party? Check out these foods – meat, veggies, fruit and even beverages – that are just as American as apple pie!

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 also an excellent source of vitamin B6 and niacin, as well as phosphorus and selenium. (If you’re watching sodium or calories, go easy on the BBQ sauce!)

Mustard: A shout-out goes to North Dakota for mustard, where more than 60 percent of US mustard seeds are harvested. At zero calories, zero fat, and zero cholesterol, mustard is a great condiment option for sandwiches, hot dogs, salads, and more.

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 come from Florida and California, and offer vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and the antioxidant lycopene.

Potatoes: 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 its fair 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.

Corn: Nothing says summer like corn on the cob! While billions of ears of 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.

Beer: If this 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.

Watermelon: Make watermelon your sweet treat – 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 your sweet and juicy fruit (or maybe Florida, Texas, Georgia or Indiana).

– By Morgan McManimon-Myers, Viterbo Dietetics Student

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