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7 Heart-Healthy BBQ Foods


heart-healthy bbq foods

By Sarah Parker Ward

Believe it or not, healthy grill-friendly foods don’t have to be complicated or taste like cardboard. On the contrary, we’ve rounded up some simple, delicious cookout recipes that are perfect for supporting a healthy ticker. You can grill and chill to your heart’s delight this summer, knowing that you’re taking it easy on your ticker, and those of your loved ones – which is a good thing since nearly half of all Americans currently have at least one key heart-disease risk factor.

Fish Burgers: Salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides. So skip the high-fat beef burger and throw a few of the fish alternatives on the grill instead. Simply mix up salmon, egg, chopped onion, bread crumbs, and parsley then shape into a patty. Season with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

Edamame Salad: Soy is an excellent heart-healthy protein that makes a great salad addition. Toss edamame, sweet corn, chopped green bell pepper and a bit of red onion with some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic for one of the world’s simplest, most refreshing salads.

Ranch Popcorn: Popcorn may sound like a movie-night go-to over a BBQ feature, but you won’t regret this recipe. After popping your kernels with canola or safflower oil – not butter – drizzle a few more tablespoons of oil overtop the popcorn and then toss in 2 tablespoons each of dried chives, parsley, and dill. Finish with some garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste.

Avocado Deviled Eggs: Deviled eggs are a classic appetizer for any get-together, but many recipes call for high-fat mayonnaise. Consider replacing your mayo with avocado blended with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Avocados which contains good fats while staying cholesterol free.

Grilled Corn: Arguably the easiest BBQ side dish, simply husk, lightly butter & wrap the corn in aluminum foil before placing on the grill. Grill for 7-8 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes so the kernels cook evenly. Unwrap, lightly salt and serve.

Buffalo Bean Dip: Bypass the hot wings for a healthier rendition in dip form. Blend a can of cannellini beans, red hot sauce, a tablespoon of olive oil & two tablespoons of water until creamy. Scoop into a bowl and accompany with low-sodium sweet potato chips. (Pro Tip: You’ll want to make extra because everyone will come back for seconds!)

Fruit Kebabs: The American Heart Association recommends filling half your plate with fruits and veggies, so here’s a great way to do that while also adding something sweet to the mix. Use mini cookie cutters to make shapes from your favorite melons and apples. Slide onto skewers, using grapes as spacers between shapes.

With these recipes on your side, you – and your guests – are armed with an arsenal of healthy backyard cookout solutions that will keep hearts and taste buds happy.

In collaboration with National 4-H Council. Visit for more tips, ideas and activities for the entire family.

Third-party references and links provided in this article are for educational purposes only. No sponsorship or endorsement is implied. Information was used from the American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Mayo Clinic.

© Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2019

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