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.

If you have questions or comments about this story, please email [email protected].

American Heart Association News Stories

American Heart Association News covers heart disease, stroke and related health issues. Not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Statements, conclusions, accuracy and reliability of studies published in American Heart Association scientific journals or presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the American Heart Association’s official guidance, policies or positions.

Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, for individuals, media outlets, and non-commercial education and awareness efforts to link to, quote, excerpt from or reprint these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to American Heart Association News.

Other uses, including educational products or services sold for profit, must comply with the American Heart Association’s Copyright Permission Guidelines. See full terms of use. These stories may not be used to promote or endorse a commercial product or service.

HEALTH CARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or call for emergency medical help immediately.