A nutritious side dish to grill this Memorial Day

By American Heart Association News

(American Heart Association)
(American Heart Association)

The coronavirus has put a damper on Memorial Day outings, but you can still kick off barbecue season with healthy grilled fruit kebabs.

Skewers filled with pineapple, strawberry, banana and watermelon offer a smart alternative to typical holiday desserts like ice cream and cake.

"All fruits are nutritious because they're a source of micronutrients, dietary fibers and polyphenols, the latter of which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits," said Penny Kris-Etherton, a registered dietitian and professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University's Department of Nutritional Sciences.

"Many studies have shown that higher fruit intake is associated with better health and a decreased risk of chronic disease-related morbidity and mortality."

The fruit kebabs might be sweet and tasty, but they're also packed with soluble and insoluble fiber, which have lots of health benefits and make you feel full.

"Soluble fiber decreases cholesterol absorption and lowers (bad) LDL cholesterol, a causal factor in the development of atherosclerosis," Kris-Etherton said. "Insoluble fiber benefits gastrointestinal health … and total fiber is thought to play a role in satiety and control food intake."

The recipe also contains balsamic vinegar. Kris-Etherton said the nutritional benefits of vinegar are still largely unproven, especially in the small amounts used in this recipe.

Make sure to keep an eye on the honey and don't add more than the two tablespoons in the recipe.

"Honey is considered an added sugar (and) it has the same effect physiologically as does sugar," she said.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 100 calories a day for most women and no more than 150 calories a day for men.

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