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Heart Health

Heart Healthy Barbequing

Nothing beats firing up the grill and cooking up family recipes for steaks, burgers and chicken. However, summer barbeques are not always what the doctor ordered for maintaining a healthy heart. Follow these simple tips to make your summer grilling healthier without losing the taste.

1. Use heart-friendly meats.

Choose lean or extra lean beef such as 95% lean ground beef, top round steak, top sirloin steak, skinless chicken, pork chops or salmon to help eliminate some unhealthy elements from the start.  Fish is low in saturated fat and high in fiber which helps decrease bad cholesterol. Try this grilled salmon recipe from the American Heart Association.

2. Cut out bad condiments.

Most condiments are high in sodium and fat. While these additions are essential to every cookout, try using a smaller amount of your preferred condiment and using low-fat mayonnaise and cheese.

3. Make up your own marinade.

Just like condiments, marinades can have high sodium levels. Instead, try using a marinade with citrus or olive oil. This may also help reduce cancer-causing heterocyclic amine (HCA) formation. Fruit juices, herbs, rosemary, and oregano make great marinades. If you think outside of the box, you can find great heart-healthy substitutes.

4. Substitute the sides.

No barbeque is complete without a side of potato salad or baked beans - but pay attention to the key ingredients and serving size. Small changes can really make a difference. Try using a light miracle whip in potato salad, serving grilled vegetables, or making a fruit-based dessert.

Using these tips, you can still have a tasty barbeque and maintain a healthy heart!

This article originally appeared in The Ohio State University Medical Center's Heart Newsletter and is published with permission.

Related Resources:

Even Healthy Tailgating Can Be Fun
Heterocyclic Amines in Cooked Meats
Sodium and Food - Information For Better Nutrition
'Tis the Season for Grilling

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Last Reviewed: May 21, 2010

Emily Lisciandro, RD, LD
Staff Dietitian
Clinical Nutrition
Wexner Medical Center
The Ohio State University