Nothing beats a hot grill, cold drinks, and some friends to dine with. Grilling can easily be one of the healthiest ways to cook and cleanup is usually a breeze! But before you invite your friends over for a backyard gathering, keep in mind these tips to a healthy grilled meal!
- Grilling: it’s all about the meat. The healthiest choices are fish, chicken breast (skinless), and ground poultry. While a little more challenging to grill correctly, if done with skill, you and your friends will forget about red meats as you enjoy your savory grilled salmon! Sometimes though, a good burger can’t be beat. For those times, choose turkey over beef for a healthier alternative. If you do decide to go with beef or pork, choose “choice” or “select” grades of beef and “loin” or “round” cuts of pork.
- Color, color, and more color! While most people think “meat” when they hear a sizzling grill, your favorite vegetables can also provide delicious flavor and numerous health benefits! The trick to cooking veggies on the grill is all in the cut: you want them to grill quickly and evenly. A little healthy oil drizzled over your potatoes, squash, or zucchini can keep them from sticking to the grill. You can also use heavy tin foil or a grill basket.
- Yeah, yeah, we have to watch our portions at a grill-out as well. A healthy portion of any meat is about 3 ounces and definitely not more than 6 ounces. That’s roughly the size of a deck of playing cards if you’re a visual person. And if your vision of this amount looks small, keep in mind all those colorful veggies that you just grilled up to accompany your meat!
- Spice things up! Marinating or rubbing spices can add amazing flavor with much less salt. About ½ a cup of marinade or 1 tablespoon of rub for each pound of food will do just fine. The Food Network has several articles outlining some tasty marinades for your use in the backyard!
- Bye bye bye bad fat. Remember when I said to keep your chicken breast skinless? Well, don’t forget it! Also try to trim away any visible fat on other meats. Marinating with healthy oils can also save you here as well.
- Keep it natural. Grilling already brings out a ton of natural flavors from meats, veggies, and fruits. Don’t ruin a good grilled meal by drowning it in salty sauces or heavy dressings. Red meat tends to have quite a bit of natural flavor while chicken and fish can easily be perfected with a little lemon or lime!
- Watch your buns. If you must include bread, be sure to choose the whole-grain buns to compliment your grilling. Don’t forget that a good lettuce wrap can help you ditch the bun!
- Foods on the side. It’s very tempting to go to the store and pick up a can of beans or some macaroni salad, but homemade versions of these American favorites can be many times healthier. Don’t forget about some fresh greens as well! A simple salad or even a fruit salad can be the perfect complement to your grilled feast.
- Get fruity. The high heat of a grill can caramelize the natural sugars inside fruits giving them an extra sweetness. Sliced fruits such as apples, pineapples, pears, or even banana halves can certainly amaze!
- A shiny grill is a happy grill. And believe me: the next time you go to grill, you’ll be happy too! Cleaning up is never fun, but it’s essential to a good grilling experience. At minimum, the grilling surface needs to be scrubbed down; but I’d also recommend cleaning the flavor guards (if you have a gas grill) and ensuring that there are no grease fires next time by cleaning out other food debris. Weber’s blog contains an excellent
Alright, now that my mouth is watering, it’s time to start planning my next grill-out with friends! Let’s be sure that we keep these 10 tips in mind as we begin to enjoy cooking outdoors this summer! Bon appétit!