It's summer time, so it's finally the time to start grilling and eating outside. If you're trying to keep your beach bod and want to eat healthier, you can still participate in a good ole' BBQ without any worries. Here's how to grill healthy this summer and not miss any fun with your friends and family!
Choose Healthy Apps, Sides, & Meats
The key to grilling healthy this summer is by starting healthy. It's natural to put out chips and heavy dips before the grilling even starts. Nonetheless, these are loaded with calories, salt, and fat, which would be a rough start. Instead, choose healthier appetizers such as a platter of fresh veggies or shrimp, and serve lighter dips like hummus, guac, and curried yogurt. The same goes for any sides you want with the grill. Potato and pasta salads aren't the healthiest choices, but you can still have these traditional sides by lightening them up. Dilute the mayo, mix in low-fat plain yogurt, and add some bright veggies to lower the calorie load. Then when it's actually time to grill, you want to opt for a healthier and leaner choice of meat. Hot dogs and sausages may be the standard, but these processed meats have been shown to increase your risk of cancer and heart disease. As a replacement, choose lean cuts of fresh meat such as sirloin, chicken breasts, turkey burgers, or fish.
Avoid Charring & Add A Marinade
Many people love grilling because of the char smell and taste. However, if you want to grill healthy this summer, then you want to avoid charring your meat. Cooking protein-rich meat, poultry, or fish at high temperatures, or in direct contact with a flame, actually produces carcinogenic chemicals that no one needs. You want to lower the temperature and turn your meat often to get a nice, light sear. Another option is to slide your salmon or chicken breasts on a cedar plank to control the temperature and avoid direct heat. Then be sure to also add an antioxidant-rich marinade. Marinades help to reduce the formation of these harmful chemicals, along with making leaner cuts of meat and chicken more tender and juicy. They do this by providing a barrier to the heat, as the antioxidants protect the meat. You can easily make a simple homemade sauce with olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs and spices instead of using the bottled stuff that contains loads of sugar.
Grill All Vegetables & Dessert
Keep in mind that not every barbecue has to be be a meat fest. Explore some other options by grilling your favorite veggies! Some good vegetables to try are yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, corn, mushrooms, onions, and even portobello burgers. Add a slash of extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary, and you'll make the most appetizing dishes. Let's not forget about dessert as well. You can skip the sugary pies and actually grill the most delicious fruit. Reach for fresh peaches, nectarines, and watermelon, cutting them in half and removing the pits. Simply grill these healthy fruit for a few minutes, and then top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dollop of ricotta for a more sweet taste! How's that for a healthy BBQ?