Summer is barbecue season! There’s nothing like getting the gang together for a good old-fashioned cookout. However, all of that meat can be fatty and high in cholesterol, which isn’t good news for your heart. Luckily, there are other options that can allow you to grill all summer long with your ticker in mind! Here are some fun and easy ideas to try this summer:
- Turkey: This healthy and delicious alternative to heavy beef and pork options comes in many forms—burgers and hot dogs included. Switch out your barbecue staples for turkey versions for a lower-fat option that is just as delicious.
- Chicken: Grilled chicken is another flavorful and heart-healthy option. Instead of burgers or steaks, try serving up some delicious grilled chicken. Use a flavor rub prior to grilling to really bring out chicken’s great taste! You can also use grilled chicken in salads or kebabs.
- Veggies: Getting your recommended daily allowance of veggies is tastier on the grill! Grilled vegetables are great on their own or as part of an entrée. Bell peppers and zucchini are amazing on a kebab. Try grilled Portobello mushrooms as a burger alternative (even better topped with pesto!). Or, try grilled asparagus, tomatoes, or corn for a fun and healthy side dish. For best results, marinate them in your favorite marinade (you can try lemon juice mixed with your favorite spices and mix with wine or vinegar), or just brush with oil. Keep a close watch on veggies to avoid burning them, and take them off the grill after they start to wilt and char.
- Fruits: Even your sweet tooth can be satisfied by some heart-healthy grilling! Try larger and firmer fruits that contain a lot of water, they retain their flavor and texture the best (unlike berries and grapes, which are better served fresh or baked). Pineapple, bananas, apples, plums, and watermelon are especially good. Pick fruits that are not quite ripe, then slice into sizable slices or chunks and soak in cold water (add a spritz of lemon to keep the fruit’s color) for 30 minutes. Then, lightly brush the fruits with cooking oil to prevent sticking, and cook over medium heat on a clean grill (to avoid cross-contamination) until nice grill marks are visible. You can also marinate fruits with spices or brown sugar to enhance the flavor, and top with whipped cream or frozen yogurt for an extra special dessert.
Nothing tastes as good as a hot-off-the-grill meal during the summer months. Try these heart-healthy alternatives all season long!
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