It also means more time to spend with family and friends and time to enjoy delicious foods together. Whether it is grilling for summer barbeques or enjoying picking out fresh, local produce at a Farmer’s Market, summertime is one of the easiest times to eat healthier and enjoy heart-wise food choices. 

Here are some tips from The American Heart Association for simple ways to enjoy nutritious food choices and stay heart smart this summer:


Grilled Chicken

Buy chicken breasts (and remember to remove the skin before eating) instead of the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs).  Also try grilling chicken or turkey burgers using breast meat that you can also add diced onions to for another layer of flavor.


Grilled Fish

Select grilled fish more often.  The healthiest types of fish include salmon, trout and herring, which are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. 


Choose Healthy Cuts

When deciding what cut of meat to buy, choose “loin” and “round” cuts of red meat and pork.  Also consider buying “choice” or “select” grades of beef instead of “prime.” These choices have the least amount of fat, but don’t forget to trim any remaining fat off when you get home.


Try a Grilling Rack

Use a rack when grilling so the fat drips off and away from the food.


A Grilled Spin on Dessert

For desert options, try grilling fruits like pineapple slices, nectarines, peaches or plums. The natural sugars caramelize with the heat and give them great flavor and fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber and are low in calories.


Ditch the Fried Fries

Instead of regular, deep-fried French fries, try baking your fries instead. Slice white or sweet potatoes into sticks, and then lightly coat them with an olive oil cooking spray. Add pepper and paprika to taste and bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.


Grilled Veggies

Opt for grilled vegetables, like corn on the cob. For delicious grilled corn, simply leave the husks on and grill for about 30 minutes over medium flame, turning occasionally. Remove the from the grill, let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove the husks and enjoy.


A Full Course on a Skewer

To create a simple entrée that includes both meat and vegetables, go for kabobs. Just load up your skewers with a variety of vegegies, like mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and in between the vegetables place pieces of medallion chicken, pork, or beef. Spray lightly with an olive oil cooking spray and grill until slightly blackened.