You’ve made burgers, lick-your-fingers ribs, and crushed your Fourth of July BBQ, but don’t hang up those grill tongs just yet. There are still several more weeks of warm weather and many more recipes to try out.
Grilling can be one of the healthiest ways to cook your meats and vegetables. Plus, not only is it healthy, but it’s also a great way to bring out those natural flavors, making prep a breeze. However, while cooking over an open flame can have many benefits, there are certain foods and prep tips that you should follow to make sure you’re being a true, healthy grill master.
Go Beyond Burgers
Anyone can throw a burger on the grill, but smarter and healthier options can lead to a lot of great recipes. Get creative by ditching red meat and opting for fish. Fishes like salmon and trout have excellent health benefits like a generous amount of Omega-3 and protein. Vegetables should also be a large feature on your summertime menu. Try adding a side of tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, or brussel sprouts to your grill basket or skewer. If you’ve had your fill of summer corn, then sweeten up your plate with grilled fruit. High heat will make the natural sugars in fruit caramelize, producing extra sweetness and flavor. Choose fruits that aren’t quite ripe yet and then cut them into large chunks for grilling. Peaches never tasted so good! You can even try pineapples, apples, pears, nectarines, and even watermelon.
Prep With Purpose
Even if you make all of the healthy choices when picking out your food, loading it down with a sugary marinade or letting it burn on the grill can take away the health benefits. Excessive smoke production, for example, can carry harmful substances. One way to cut down on smoke production is to trim the fat from meats like chicken and pork. This will lessen the number of harmful flare-ups produced from dripping fat. Marinating meat or seafood for a couple of hours will also limit the amount of harmful substances that could attach during cooking. The best marinades are the ones you create at your very own home since store-bought marinades can contain excess sugar and salt. Try an acidic marinade like a lemon or vinegar-based one, but if you don’t have time for a marinade, simply create a rub from your favorite spices and herbs.
Conquer Cooking Techniques
There is a kitchen accessory and tool for everything nowadays and the same is true for grilling. You can make grilling a bit easier on yourself by using fewer accessories, which will also help you stick to healthier cooking methods. Vegetables can be tricky on the grill and no one likes a soot-covered zucchini, so give bamboo or stainless skewers a try. Another great tool is a grill basket that can hold all your chopped veggies while still allowing for that delicious grilled taste. An even simpler method – wrap your masterpiece up in foil! A layer of foil will prevent dripping fat and burning. No matter the grill tool of choice, remember to cook at a low temperature to prevent toxins from forming.
Learn even more about healthy grilling from our registered dieticians at the Chillin’ and Grillin’ event at Mountainside Medical Center on Thursday, Sept. 6th at 10 a.m. Click the link below to register!