Robbinsville, NJ - The shore is crowded, the sunblock is on and the grill is fired up. It's Independence Day! While the heat of summer is in full force, it's sometimes easy to forget the healthy habits we've been maintaining through spring. According to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, less than 1 percent of adults and essentially no children meet the recommendations for an "Ideal Healthy Diet." Eating a heart-healthy diet can help reduce risk for heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 4 killers in the U.S.

"Keep you and your family healthy this summer by staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen and eating fresh, seasonal meals," asserts Len Saunders, author of Keeping Kids Fit and spokesperson for the American Heart Association from Montville, NJ. "Summer offers an abundance of fresh produce at the grocery store, farmers' markets and local gardens. Plus, there are plenty of easy swaps to make family cookouts heart-healthy."

As we celebrate America's birthday, remember to keep your BBQ heart-healthy with these tips:

  1. Go Fish! Fish, especially fatty fish like tuna and salmon, offer great health benefits like omega-3 fatty acids. Season with fresh herbs and lemon juice for a great flavor boost.
  2. Make a better burger. Choose lean or extra lean ground beef when making patties and drain off extra fat before serving. Remember a serving size is 3 ounces or about the size of a deck of cards.  For added flavor and extra nutrition, add chopped peppers or onions to your meat before grilling.
  3. Try veggie kabobs. Skewer mushrooms, peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, squash or other veggies, brush with olive oil or spray with cooking spray and grill until veggies are tender and slightly blackened.
  4. Grill corn on the cob. Leave husks on and grill for about 30 minutes over a medium flame, turning occasionally. Remove from grill, let stand about 5 minutes, remove husks and enjoy!
  5. Fruit for dessert. Slice fresh fruit and serve as is or mash up fruit like peaches, grapes, watermelon or berries, place in a paper cup with a popsicle stick, freeze overnight and enjoy!

Looking for more tips on making this summer heart-healthy? Visit