With summer cookouts in full swing, it can be tough to make healthy food choices. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, head of our Emergency Department, tells us how we can watch our waistlines and keep our hearts healthy while we enjoy summer barbeques.Rose Melendez

How can we be mindful of eating healthy during summer cookout season?


Nurse Rose: Eating heart healthy is a great way to think about making better food choices at those BBQs.

Follow these heart healthy grilling tips.

  • Avoid or limit fatty meats.
  • Grill more fish. Salmon, trout and herring have heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Go for skinless chicken breasts, instead of dark meat.
  • Grill dense veggies like zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers and corn.
  • Grill on the rack, so fat drips away from the food.

What else should we be looking out for to stay heart healthy this summer?


Nurse Rose: As we all know, the food on the grill isn’t the only temptation at a BBQ. It’s important to be mindful of side dishes, beverages and condiments as well.

Use some of these really simple heart healthy substitutions for your favorite cookout side dishes, drinks and condiments.

  • Swap mayonnaise-based salads for green leafy salads with lots of veggies or fruit salad.
  • Serve a raw veggie platter with low-fat dressing for a satisfying crunch, instead of potato chips and dip.
  • Go for fruit-infused water instead of sugary sodas and juices.
  • Try fresh fruit with low-calorie yogurt or cool whip instead of commercially baked foods like cookies and cakes.
  • Buy whole grain breads and low-fat or reduced fat cheese and dressings.

Eating heart healthy is just one great way to keep your heart in shape. Visit www.TrustedHeartCare.com to take our quick, easy and free heart risk assessment.

Additional Health Tips from Rose

Hear more health tips from Rose by tuning into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m.