I love everything about the Fourth of July, from the hometown parades, to fireworks, and cookouts with family and friends. Yet, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, many celebrations can be a real disaster for your heart and your health. That’s why I wanted to share some of my best heart-smart secrets to make your holiday celebration both enjoyable and healthy.
- Select your meats carefully: Some of the best heart-healthy choices are beef, bison, and lamb. Instead of buying fatty hamburger meat, I have the butcher grind up free-range, top-round steak into burger meat. Some places sell a good lean ground round, but avoid the fat when making your selection.
- Focus on the side dishes. Balance out your meal with a healthy serving of vegetables. Not only do vegetables provide valuable antioxidants, they’re low in calories and a good way to keep your holiday meal balanced. Here are 5 heart-healthy side dishes for your July 4th celebration.
- Lower your blood lipids with eggplant. Eggplant is high in fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, copper, and potassium. Plus, eggplant’s main phenolic compound—chlorogenic acid—not only has viral and cancer fighting actions, it can lower your blood fat levels. Here’s how to enjoy it on the grill.
- Enjoy watermelon with your meal, or for dessert. Not only is watermelon sweet and delicious, it’s one of the most heart-healthy fruits you can eat. It contains carotenoids, lycopene and beta-carotene that neutralize free radicals to prevent heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. You can serve it fresh, or try it on the grill.
- Choose your drinks wisely. The summer months often conjure up images of cool sugary drinks enjoyed while lounging in the backyard or at a family picnic. Yet, sugar-laden sodas and lemonade can pack on the pounds and raise your blood pressure. Instead, opt for mineral water sweetened with flavored stevia—or my personal favorite, club soda with D-ribose and puréed raspberries.
Now it’s your turn: What’s on your menu for the Fourth of July?