Heart-healthy BBQ and Summertime Tips

April 22, 2022

With summer on its way, how much are you looking forward to your first cookout? Barbecuing is a great way to spend quality time with friends and family while enjoying delicious summer foods. Have a heart-healthy summer by following these tips.

Healthy BBQ tips:

Dog at a BBQ

  • Choose lean or extra-lean cuts of meat. Although these cuts have less fat, you should still trim the visible fat before throwing them on the BBQ.
  • Avoid meats that tend to be high in saturated fat: sausages, hot dogs, spareribs and rib-eye steaks.
  • Try alternatives to beef burgers: ground turkey burger, chicken burger or soy burger.
  • Grill fish instead of meat. Fish with high amounts of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids include trout, salmon and herring.
  • Grilled fruits can be quite tasty. They’re also low in calories and high in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Try throwing pineapple slices, peaches and plums on the grill.
  • Use whole grain bread for your burger buns.
  • Place food items on a rack so that the fat drips away from the food.
  • Serve healthy sides: instead of a creamy, mayonnaise-based salad, go for a green leafy salad or a fruit salad, or a combination of greens and fruit (e.g., mixed greens with sliced strawberries).

Keep in mind these other healthy eating tips:

  • Summer is a great time for seasonal fruit and vegetables. Try fresh watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, corn, asparagus, snow peas, peppers and spinach. They can be eaten as they are or blended to make a smoothie.
  • Quench your thirst with calorie-free water instead of soft drinks. Drink water regularly, especially when it’s hot outside.
  • Limit foods that are high in fat, sugar, or salt such as cakes, candies, pastries, doughnuts, frozen desserts and french fries.

With barbecuing weather comes the possibility of high temperatures. Staying cool if you have a heart condition is important to reduce your risk of having a heat illness, such as heat exhaustion, heat rash, heat cramps and heat stroke (a medical emergency).

Take these steps to stay cool:

  • Drink lots of water throughout the day. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty – by that time, you may already be dehydrated. You can also eat more fruits and veggies that have a high water content (e.g., watermelon).
  • Wear breathable, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing. Shield yourself from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat or by using an umbrella.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned room. Keep the sun out by closing curtains and blinds.
  • Avoid going outside when it is extremely hot.