Red, white and blue foods for the Fourth of July

June 14, 2023 at 11:55 a.m.
This Independence Day, celebrate with low sodium, fresh recipes, including this watermelon stars and blueberry salad.
This Independence Day, celebrate with low sodium, fresh recipes, including this watermelon stars and blueberry salad. Katy G. Wilkens

It will be Independence Day in less than a month, and that means we’ll see a lot of red, white and blue foods in grocery stores. An online search for “Fourth of July recipes” comes back with loads of them, including blue pasta, red and blue deviled eggs and seemingly endless uses for blue frosting.
I used to say, “Don’t eat blue food!” because many are manufactured with an abundance of salt, fat, sugar, artificial colors and flavorings. But there are healthy red and blue foods.
I am thinking of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. All are high in antioxidants, folic acid and vitamin C, as well as low in calories, high in natural fiber and packed with flavor, not salt and fat. This Independence Day, celebrate with low sodium, fresh recipes:

Fourth of July Blueberry Pie

To make homemade crusts that are low in sodium, use your regular recipe but leave out the salt. Pillsbury ready-to-use pie crusts are also relatively low in sodium – about 260 milligrams for one-eighth of a double-crust pie. (A good rule of thumb is that no single serving of food should contain more than 400 milligrams of sodium.) Make this pie the day before your party.

5-6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

¾ cup sugar

½ cup tapioca starch or Minute tapioca

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 box ready-made Pillsbury pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix blueberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon and cinnamon. Pour into 9-inch pie shell. Use a cookie cutter to cut stars out of the top crust. Place crust on top of filled pie shell, and arrange cutout stars around the edge of the pie. Cover the edge with foil to avoid burning. Place a baking sheet below the pie, as it will probably bubble out and drip. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Let set for several hours.

Red, White and Blueberry Ice Pops

2 cups raspberries and blueberries

2 cups coconut water per cup of fruit

1-2 tablespoons of sugar (optional)

Drop fruit into molds or paper cups. Taste your coconut water—if it isn’t sweet enough, add sugar. Fill molds or paper cups with coconut water, leaving about a half inch at the top. Insert wooden sticks, plastic spoons or mold bases. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
Tip: Add fruit when you make ice cubes; then use them in iced tea or lemonade.

Red, White and Blueberry Salad

Salad greens

½ cucumber

½ green pepper

½ cup strawberries or raspberries or both

½ cup blueberries

½ cup goat cheese, crumbled or cut in small pieces

½ cup chopped hazelnuts or blanched almonds

In large salad bowl, tear greens. Chop cucumber and green pepper. Toss with lettuce. Sprinkle salad with berries, goat cheese and nuts. Serve with raspberry or blueberry vinegar and oil.

Watermelon Stars and Blueberry Salad

1 watermelon

1 cup blueberries

1 cup diced jicama

2 tablespoons honey

¼ cup lime juice

Grated zest from 1-2 limes

Slice watermelon in ½-inch-thick rounds. Use a cookie cutter to make stars and put in large salad bowl. (Save the leftover pieces of watermelon for another salad, watermelon iced tea, strawberry watermelon smoothies or watermelon sorbet.) Add blueberries, jicama, lime juice, zest and honey. Toss, chill and serve.

[Contributor Katy G. Wilkens recently retired as registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. The National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition has honored her with its highest awards for excellence in education and for significant contributions in renal nutrition. She has also been awarded the Medal of Excellence in kidney nutrition from the American Association of Kidney Patients.]


Eating Well, Living Well classes

Studies show that working with a registered dietitian can delay kidney failure and postpone dialysis for longer than two years. FREE nutrition classes taught by Katy’s former team of registered dietitians are available at convenient times and locations around Puget Sound.

Eating Well, Living Well classes teach people how to eat healthier to slow the progress of kidney disease and postpone dialysis. Learn more at

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