Red, White and Barbara’s

Charcoal Grill Coals & Vegetable Skewers

Memorial Day may mark the beginning of the vacation season for you and your clients, but the 4th of July is when summer really blasts off (literally!) for most. Independence Day is traditionally a time for the five Fs: friends, family, fun, fireworks, and food. Your clients can handle the first four, but we’d like to pitch in on the food ideas with some heart-healthy suggestions for the remainder of the summer.

If your clients like meat, make sure they look for hamburgers and hot dogs without antibiotics or added hormones. Grass fed or organic meats are a terrific option. If they’re looking for a meat alternative, I recommend grilling wild salmon with a side of veggie kabobs. Salmon is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and easy to make. Simply marinate one-inch thick salmon steaks in your favorite marinade (I love San-J’s Asian cooking sauces), grill over medium-hot charcoal 4 to 6 minutes per side, and serve with lime.

Make your veggie kabobs colorful and healthy! Cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper slices, white mushroom caps, and purple eggplant squares serve as the perfect lineup and provide heart friendly nutrients. Simply brush the veggies with marinade and grill your kabobs alongside the salmon.

Instead of potato salad, have your clients try a quinoa salad with roasted cherry tomatoes. Quinoa is an easy-to-prepare grain that’s also a complete protein and a great source of heart-healthy nutrients: magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and fiber. The tomatoes provide lycopene (an antioxidant) and other nutrients. For the dressing, use the juices from the tomatoes and add a squirt of lime juice.

Beverages can be good for the heart as well if you make a batch of iced green tea with lemon slices and fresh mint. Green tea (my go-to brand is Bigelow) is a super source of catechins, plant nutrients shown to possess cardiovascular (and weight loss!) benefits.

Keeping the young ones busy by having them make their own Snackimals Banana Roll Ups is fun and easy. It has just four simple ingredients—Barbara’s Vanilla Snackimals, bananas, whole-wheat tortillas, and peanut butter.

For the adults, a variation of Barbara’s Peaches and Crème Dessert Shots is a fun choice. Substitute holiday-appropriate berries (blueberries, strawberries, boysenberries, raspberries) for the peaches.

Wishing all of you a safe and heart-healthy summer!