Forget hotdogs and hamburgers. Make healthy grilled food a hit at your summer cookout by incorporating fruits, veggies, lean meats and low-fat marinades.
“When we think of the grill, we automatically think of hamburgers,” said Patricia Salzer, a registered dietitian and health and wellness consultant with Univera Healthcare. “It’s easy to make grilling healthy, and healthy doesn’t have to mean ‘no flavor.’”
Salzer recommended switching up your grilling routine to incorporate more fresh produce and lean protein. Try the tips below, and check out the Univera Healthcare’s Pinterest page at http://www.pinterest.com/univerawny/ for recipes.
Swap out fatty meats for lean meats, poultry and fish.
Try chicken and vegetable kabobs for easy party food.
Ditch starchy sides for vegetables such as eggplant, asparagus, avocadoes, corn, jalapenos and romaine halves.
· Swap out fatty meats for lean meats, poultry and fish
· Try chicken and vegetable kabobs for easy party food.
· Ditch starchy sides for vegetables such as eggplant, asparagus, corn, avocados, jalapenos and romaine halves.
· Instead of flavoring foods with high-fat dressings, choose herbs and spices, vinegar, and extra-virgin oils.
· Grill whole-wheat pizzas or bread to make crostini.
· For a sweet treat, try grilled fruit – plantains, peaches, nectarines, melons, figs, apples or pineapple.
In some instances, grilling fatty meats hurts more than your cholesterol. Salzer said that the fat from meat can drip down onto the coals, creating smoke flare-ups that contaminate your food with carcinogens—cancer-causing agents. She recommended following these other tips to ensure safe and healthy grilling:
· Marinate your meat to reduce carcinogens by forming a protective barrier around the food.
· Use different platters for raw and cooked meat to reduce exposure to bacteria.
· Clean your grill by scrubbing with a brush before and after cooking.
· Avoid charring food or remove burnt sections before eating. They contain more carcinogens than the rest of the food.
· Flip meat frequently to optimally reduce E. coli bacteria, and use a meat thermometer to be sure to heat to the recommended temperature (165 for ground poultry, 160 for ground red meats or mixtures and fresh pork, and 145 for red meat steak or chops)
· Don’t cook meat past its goal temperature to avoid charring.