Longer summer days and the smell of charcoal grills mean the Fourth of July is nearly here. If you’ve been watching your diet, you may be concerned that summertime gatherings are synonymous with overindulgence.


But, that doesn’t have to be the case. Believe it or not, it’s easy to make festive, mouth-watering Fourth of July treats that are actually good for you. The key is to stay away from high-fat, highly-processed foods that are also high in sugar and other waistline-damaging ingredients. So resist temptation and try serving up a few of these healthier options for this year’s Fourth of July treats:


Pick fresh fruit for color and sweetness

Fresh fruit is an easy go-to food — berries of all types are a particularly good choice. Berries are relatively low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants. Ripe summer fruit is extremely tasty and can be cut and arranged in a colorful display to serve to guests. Fruit can also be used in place of high-calorie, artificially-colored icings and sugars to decorate your Fourth of July treats.


Recipe idea: Have your cake – and eat it, too


Try slicing up a few fresh strawberries and tossing them with a handful of blueberries. Serve this mix with a slice of angel food cake (a low-fat alternative to heavier cakes and pastries), and you’ve got the perfect patriotic color combination.


Low-fat yogurt as an alternative

Low-fat yogurt is a very versatile ingredient and can be used in many Fourth of July desserts. Plain yogurt can be used as a substitution for sour cream in your favorite dip recipe, while vanilla yogurt can serve in place of cream cheese or whipped cream in some recipes. In addition to its high protein and calcium content, many yogurts also contain probiotics, which help regulate digestion.


Recipe idea: We all scream for…yogurt

For a healthy alternative to calorie-rich ice cream, blend low-fat vanilla yogurt with some fresh raspberries and blueberries. Create a second mixture of blended strawberries and vanilla yogurt. Layer the blue and red mixtures into popsicle holders. Keep frozen until you’re ready to serve as a refreshing Fourth of July dessert.


Low-fat granola adds texture

Low-fat granola makes a great crunchy topping for fruit salad or frozen yogurt. It’s typically made from whole grain oats, which are known to help lower cholesterol. It’s also packed with vitamins and minerals. Some granola products can be high in fat and sugar, so it’s important to choose a high-quality brand that is minimally processed.


Recipe idea: Simple or formal with parfaits

Layer fresh fruit, vanilla yogurt and a thin layer of granola in a small glass sized for a parfait. Keep refrigerated and top with additional granola when ready to serve. This simple and healthy Fourth of July dessert works well at a summer family cookout and even slightly more formal gatherings.

With just a few modifications this Fourth of July, you’ll be able to spend more time celebrating with family and friends and less time feeling guilty about your diet.