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Healthy You

7 heart-healthy grilling tips

Tuesday, June 27, 2023 3:35 PM

As the summer heat begins to rise, so do the delicious smells of grilling season. Grilling is a great way to bring your family and friends together while sharing a delicious meal that satisfies your summer cravings.

Heart healthy grilling tipsBefore you enjoy your meal, here are seven heart-healthy grilling tips to keep both your family and your heart smiling:

  1. Choose lean, not processed, meats. Many meats that are commonly grilled, such as hot dogs, sausages and bacon, contain ingredients that are high in sodium and unhealthy fats. Opt for lean meats, including skinless chicken breasts, turkey burgers, or fish like salmon or trout. Trim any visible fats to reduce overall saturated fat content.
  2. Build flavor the healthy way. Marinating your meat before grilling can reduce unwanted fats and excess salt while adding flavor. Choose marinades that contain herbs, spices and olive oil. Also, skip the sauces and dressings, especially barbecues, which are high in added sugars and unhealthy fats. If you use them, pick low-sodium, sugar-free options or make your own.
  3. Add some color to your plate. Fruits and vegetables are not only delicious but contain essential nutrients and fiber, while also being low in calories and saturated fats. Some colorful fruits and vegetables that can be grilled include bell peppers, pineapple, potatoes, zucchini and eggplants. Grilling your fruits can even serve as a dessert, as grilling brings out their natural sweetness.
  4. Size down your portions. When it comes to portion size, keep your servings of meat moderate and fill the rest of your plate with colorful vegetables, fruits and whole grains to keep you full and satisfied.
  5. Avoid overcooking meat. Burning or overcooking your meat can contain harmful compounds that have been linked to health risks. Instead, try to cook your meats until they reach a safe internal temperature without excessive burning. If you find yourself regularly burning your meat, try a grilling basket.
  6. Make the whole grain switch. Whole grain buns are a great alternative to white buns as they contain extra fiber, flavor and texture, while white bread is highly processed and high in sugar. Research also suggests whole grains may help to control cholesterol levels and blood pressure and lower risk of heart disease.
  7. Water, water, water. Over 37% of Americans claim to drink alcohol while grilling, but with all that heat, it is important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Alcohol is high in carbs and can increase blood pressure and risk of heart attack.

Remember, when you choose what to grill this summer, it’s all about balance. Having something small on the side like a scoop of ice cream to cool down after a healthy and filling meal is okay.

As always, remember to consult with your doctor or dietitian for advice on heart-healthy eating based on your specific dietary needs and individual health status. Let’s get cooking!

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