Today our Content Coordinator and Lead Assistant, Katy, brings to you over THIRTY Paleo 4th of July Pot Luck recipes, as well as some tips and tricks for how to handle venturing out for a holiday party with friends and family that may or may not be paleo.
I think that one thing that holds people back from committing to a Paleo Lifestyle is the fear that they will have to give up some of their holiday food traditions. I know that my family has some recipes that we make every year that are special to us, and some of those recipes I don’t always take part now that I am (mostly) paleo. At first it was awkward, especially since I am one of the main cooks in my family. In all honesty, sometimes I “cheat” and eat the things my family does at gatherings, and sometimes I don’t. It’s hard because I am from the south, and when you don’t eat something that someone has prepared, it can get a little personal. I get it – sometimes you just want to blend in and not make your food choices be the center of conversation. So what are you going to keep it a mostly Paleo 4th of July?
Always remember that it is your choice.
If you want to be honest about why you are eating certain things and not others, use the phrase “I don’t eat (insert food)” rather than “I can’t eat (insert food).” It’s a slight difference, but when you say it the first way, you take ownership of the choice, which is empowering and also more non-negotiable for those around you that might be pressuring you to “cheat.”
You can also use tactics like, “I am just too full to eat dessert!” or “I’m just not that hungry right now.” And honestly, most people are probably less concerned with what is on your plate than you think.
Sure, you could make a choice to eat a treat or perhaps you call it a “cheat day,” and that is totally your choice and your prerogative. But in my experience one “cheat day” can bring up old emotional eating habits. I have a hard time stopping when it comes to eating junk food once I start. I have a past of unhealthy binge eating, and the smallest bite can trigger it. So for me, one non-paleo treat can lead to a few days — or even a week — of making poor eating choices, and I always feel really yucky emotionally and physically for many days after.
If you don’t have emotional eating problems or food intolerances, choose to use your 20% at your discretion. BUT, if you would rather not fall off track, there are a few strategies you can use when going to a holiday party — especially a pot luck party.
When going to a party, bring a dish (or two) that you love!
No hostess will get mad at you if you bring more than one item to a pot luck. You can call ahead and coordinate if you want, or you can just show up with food in hand. I often love to bring a good salad that is full of seasonal flavors, interesting textures, and a mason jar of homemade dressing. I have brought my Cuban Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette to two of my husband’s work parties, and both times people have fought over who gets to take home the mason jar with the leftover salad dressing! Sometimes I make a paleo dessert to bring too; that way I know that if I want to have dessert, I can eat mine and not feel left out when everyone else has cookies and cake. I’ve also been known to bring my own homemade paleo barbecue sauce to a cook-out! It’s always a crowd pleaser and no one has to know it is paleo. Here is a great Round-Up of 16 Great Paleo BBQ Sauce Recipes, including my own Carolina Gold BBQ.
Still a little stumped? How about 30+ recipe suggestions to give you some inspiration?
Great Pot-Luck Protein Recipes
(served with some homemade paleo BBQ sauce on the side, like I mentioned above!)
How about some dressed up Burgers?
Maybe Some Buns, Pickles and Condiments to go along with those burgers?
2. Paleo Hot Dog Buns by Predominately Paleo (nut free)
(These would be great for those awesome Grass Fed Beef Franks that US Wellness Meats has!)
Potato Salads and Fries!
Other Great Veggie Side Dishes
And now for those oh-so-beautiful Red, White, and Blue Patriotic Desserts!
3. Red White and Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles by The View From Great Island (to make paleo, use coconut yogurt!)