How to Throw a Heart-Healthy 4th of July Cookout
Summer is officially in full swing. And with the Fourth of July right around the corner, it’s time to get ready for the annual Independence Day cookout. Cookouts and barbeques can be a great way to celebrate summer holidays; however, with sugary drinks, fatty meats, and endless desserts, these events can be a big challenge to people trying to protect their hearts. Luckily, there are a variety of delicious and heart-healthy food options perfect for Fourth of July cookouts, pool parties, and barbeques. Here are a few tips to make this year’s backyard BBQ the most heart-healthy yet.
Heart-Healthy Tips for Your Cookout:
Choose Your Marinade Carefully
Rubs and marinades can add amazing flavor to your meats before they hit the grille. However, many pre-bottled condiments, sauces, and marinades are packed with sodium and added sugars that can have a lasting effect on your blood pressure and arteries. While there are some heart-healthy options available at your local grocery store, consider making your own to ensure you know what is going into your meal. All you need is about half a cup of marinade or one tablespoon of spice rub for every pound of meat you cook. To make things even simpler, opt for some simple chili powder, cinnamon, garlic power, or even black pepper to prep your meat for the grille.
Choose Your Best Protein
You may think that a barbeque isn’t complete without beefy burgers or juicy steaks. However, there are many other meats that can be just as tasty without the negative effects fat and red meat can have on the heart. Instead, choose to grille skinless chicken breasts or veggie burgers. To make your meal even more heart healthy, opt for seafood like salmon or trout. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids that can help regulate healthy blood pressure levels. And when grilled, fish takes on a meatier texture perfect for a backyard barbeque.
Pick Heart-Healthy Sides
Fourth of July party sides can often look like bags of salty potato chips or a fatty bean dip. Instead, throw some vegetable kabobs on the grille for a colorful, heart-healthy side everyone will love. Onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes make for great kabobs. Or, cook up some sweet potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, and asparagus for a wider variety of flavors.
Don’t Forget Dessert!
Even after a filling, heart-healthy meal, it can be hard to resist the sugary apple pies and sweets offered for dessert. However, dessert is not the time to give in to foods that could put your heart at risk. Instead of indulging in sugary dishes, keep the grille going and toss on some fresh fruit. Grilled peaches, pineapple, or apples make for a low-sugar, satisfying dessert. For a cool treat, enjoy a crisp slice of watermelon. Watermelon is a staple of any Independence Day event, and as a plus, it has been proven to lower blood pressure.
Eat Healthy this Fourth of July
Eating heart-healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy annual traditions to the fullest. With these tips, you are well on your way to a fun and healthy Fourth of July weekend. However, simply eating healthy is not enough to ensure heart health. It is important to make regular visits to the cardiologist to better understand your overall health. Contact the experts at CardioVascular Group and schedule an appointment today.