Summertime and outdoor barbecues are synonymous with the season as families and friends fire up the grill. Outdoor cooking is one of the most popular ways to spend time together in the summer, but it's also an opportunity to sharpen your healthy cooking skills. So as friends and family gather around the grill this summer, try these tips to help you grill tasty and healthy eats!
Use healthy, bold ingredients to add flavor
You can add a lot of flavor to your meats without adding too many calories or fat grams. Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, tomato paste, molasses and low-sodium soy sauce are all excellent choices.
Bring on the veggies!
Grilling vegetables is one of the best ways to enjoy seasonal produce. However, the trick is to cut them appropriately to yield the best results. Cook over direct heat at medium temperate and turn frequently for best results. Eight to 10 minutes is often ideal and look for grill marks and light browning. Good grilling options include onions, corn on the cob, whole mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini and asparagus spears.
Marinate in a resealable bag
A simple and great way to easily marinate meats and veggies is in a plastic bag! Place your food in a bag and place the bag in a bowl. Drizzle your marinade over it before refrigerating. Remove excess air and keep refrigerated until you are ready to grill.
Add some sweetness to bring out the flavors
A small amount of a sweet ingredient like brown sugar, honey or molasses can help balance some stronger spices, but beware of too many added calories and sugar. These can also make your food more likely to burn.
Choose lean cuts of meat and trim visible fat
Skinless chicken and lean beef with little to no marbling are your best choices when it comes to meat. For example, half the fat and saturated fat in chicken breast and thigh is in the skin. If you're cooking chicken with the skin, remove it before you place it on the grill or you will lose most of your flavor when it's time to remove the skin after cooking. Marinate skinless chicken breasts and thighs about two hours in the refrigerator.
Stay healthy this summer and also enjoy your outdoor cookouts. We've included some healthy recipes you can try on the grill as well as information on in-season local produce you can add to your meal. Have a healthy summer!