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: Eating meat two or three times a week is fine in a heart-healthy diet. Some of the best heart-healthy choices are organic, free-range lamb, beef, and bison.
- 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.
- Consider putting eggplant on the grill. Eggplant is high in fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, copper, and potassium. Plus, eggplant’s main phenolic compound—chlorogenic acid—has viral and cancer fighting properties. 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 drinks can lead to inflammation. Instead, opt for mineral water sweetened with fresh lemon or orange slices. Or, try 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?