Can you feel the change in the air? It’s summertime here in Florida, temperatures are rising (as is the humidity), and pool parties and trips to the beach are becoming more regular. One of the tried and true pastimes of summer is the backyard cookout, historically featuring grilled, smoked, and barbequed meats along with an assortment of sides. It’s easy for your summer cookouts to take an unhealthy turn, and if you’re trying to protect your heart health, that’s the last thing you need.
This summer, as you make preparations for your next outdoor gathering, consider making some of the following adjustments to the menu:

Choose A Leaner Protein
When you think of grilling out, chances are, you think about beef. It’s been so ingrained in us that summer cookouts equal burgers, hot dogs, ribs, etc. But this summer, let’s put a heart-healthy twist on the menu by switching that protein out for something a little leaner. Instead of beef burgers, consider turkey burgers, or skip the burger all together and go straight to the chicken breast. Other proteins that are more ideal for your heart health include pork, fish, shrimp, and even tofu.

Swap The Mayonaise
Who doesn’t love potato salad, macaroni salad, and coleslaw at a summer barbecue. After working up a sweat playing with the kids or competing in a rousing game of horseshoes you’re craving that cold, creamy comfort. But, you also know that all that mayonnaise is only adding to your current cholesterol issues. But did you know that by swapping out the mayo for a fresh vinaigrette you can have the same delicious side dish with less of the unhealthy, processed fat.

Make Room For Fresh Fruits And Veggies
As you consider your menu, lay out the options and do your best to substitute as many as possible for fresh fruits and vegetables. Just say no to potato chips. How about a fresh salad instead? Cut the cupcakes. Wouldn’t you rather have a flavor-packed fruit salad or fresh fruit popsicles? Adding fresh fruits and veggies is an easy and affordable way to turn your next cookout into a hearty healthy affair.

The commitment you’re making to invest in your own heart health doesn’t have to end each time you throw a party. You can change the summer cookout paradigm by making a few, easy adjustments to your menu. Chances are you and your guests will feel better knowing you’re making the best choices you can for your bodies. For more tips on adjusting your diet for heart health, follow along on our blog. Contact us today to meet with a member of our team to discuss your heart health.