Skip to Main Content

Free Shipping on all orders over $75

How to grill for a healthy heart

How to grill for a healthy heart

Just like any other form of cooking, grilling can be healthy … or not so much. It all depends on your choices. Here’s a guide to navigating the outdoor grilling season with heart health in mind.

1. Be more adventurous with your protein.

Think beyond hot dogs and hamburgers, two of the least healthy options. If you’re set on burgers, try turkey or veggie. If you’re open to other options, try chicken thighs, shrimp or fish, wrapping thinner cuts of fish in tin foil for easier handling.  And if you like mushrooms, don’t forget those giant portobellos!  They grill like a dream and taste fantastic. And calorie for calorie, compared to beef and chicken, their protein content is comparable (you just won’t get that many calories).

2. Rethink your “main.”

Meat may be the “star” of every BBQ, but that doesn’t mean it needs to take up the biggest portion of your plate. Fruits and veggies, salads and whole grains such as farro and brown rice should occupy the vast majority of your plate's surface.  Eating vegetables with meat - instead of meat with vegetables - is a subtle dietary shift that allows you still enjoy all the tastes and textures of any BBQ meal, but in healthier ratios.  

3. Check the sodium.

Look for marinades, spice rubs, and condiments without salt -- or make your own.  

4. Lower the grill temperature.

When meat is cooked at super high temperatures, or gets burned, the proteins in the muscle of the meat react with the heat to form chemicals that are linked to high blood pressure, as well as cancer. Fat from the meat can also ignite and produce smoke with cancer-causing particles.

So, dial the thermometer back to about 325 degrees, and check the temp of meats to avoid overcooking. Keeping your grill clean between uses will also help avoid burning leftover pieces of meat. You can also limit the potential for smoke by trimming fat off meat, raising the grilling surface, or cooking your meat on top of tin foil punched with a few holes. If the meat does char, cut that part out before eating.

5. Think beyond the grill itself.

What we consume at a BBQ is usually not limited to what comes off the grill or even to the main meal in general.  There are the snacks (I’m talking to you potato chips!), various caloric beverages, and the brownies, ice cream and/or pies for dessert.  Sometimes, the grilled items are the healthiest of the available food choices!

If you know ahead of time that the event is going to be a calorie/sodium/fat/sugar blow out, give yourself a health advantage by eating something good-for-you before you go.  There’s only so much room in our stomachs – and if that room is already taken up in part by something health promoting (like a Step One bar for example), there’s simply less space for something that isn’t.

My personal favorites on a BBQ menu?

Veggie kabobs - try zucchini, mushrooms, sweet peppers and onions (If you’re really craving meat, add a few chunks between the veggies.)

Grilled jumbo shrimp

Salmon with lemon wrapped in tin foil

Corn on the cob

Spiced cauliflower steaks

Grilled peaches for dessert

Side benefits of the humble BBQ:

To me, the best parts about grilling season include forcing us to think about what’s in season, creating the perfect environment for socializing (a foundational pillar of healthy longevity), and for those of us who live in northern climates, a reason to go outside.  All amazing benefits that go way beyond the meal itself. 

And if that meal is not perfect, it’s not the end of the world.  There’s always Step One to get you back on track the next day.

Tested & Proven Results.

  • Cardiologist formulated
  • Supported by over 500 publications
  • Clinically-proven, in a double-blind randomized trial with Mayo Clinic and The University of Manitoba

80% of participants lowered their cholesterol in just 30 days. With just two servings per day, Step One Foods offers a proven-effective way to naturally lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

You may also like...

6 New Health-Focused Habits to Adopt This Summer
6 New Health-Focused Habits to Adopt This Summer
Read More
Does Ozempic Lower Cholesterol?
Does Ozempic Lower Cholesterol?
Read More
The Long-Term Benefits of Using Step One Foods
The Long-Term Benefits of Using Step One Foods
Read More
You don’t need to avoid foods with cholesterol…except for these
You don’t need to avoid foods with cholesterol…except for these
Read More
Diet is a four letter word
Diet is a four letter word
Read More
Why people who are prescribed statins don’t always take them
Why people who are prescribed statins don’t always take them
Read More