It’s time to fire up your grill and get healthy and creative with the meals you cook outdoor. For starters, skip fatty sausages, hot dogs and other processed meats. Bring out the fresh veggies, fruit and lean meats instead.
Below are more great tips to help you grill healthy from Lindsay Sawyer Lim, RDN, LDN, M.B.A., M.P.H, nutrition expert with Northwest Community Healthcare.
Mind your meat – Make it healthy and keep it safe! Skinless chicken breast, fish and 90-percent-lean ground meat are great choices, because they contain fewer calories and fat. Always thaw meat or fish in the refrigerator—never at room temperature or outside at your picnic. Keep raw meat away from grilled meat by using different plates/platters and utensils. Cook burgers to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and chicken to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a marinade or rub – Using marinade or an herb rub can pack plenty of flavors into your food and is a better option than salt. A little goes a long way. You can make a basic rub with any spice you choose. Garlic powder, pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika and rosemary are all savory and delicious options. Remember to never reuse a rub or marinade after it has come in contact with raw meat. Also try seasoning with fresh herbs and making your own marinades and salad dressings instead of using store-bought products high in sodium and other preservatives.
Get some color on the grill – Add lots of fruit and vegetables. Portabella mushrooms, potatoes, zucchini, squash, onions and pineapple are perfect for grilling.
Choose healthy sides – Ditch the store-bought macaroni salad. Instead, make a fresh green salad, bean salad or a plate or bowl of cut fresh fruit.
Make a better burger – Use whole-grain, instead of white, buns. Stick with avocado, grilled veggies and mustard to dress your burger rather than mayonnaise and cheese.
Keep your grill clean – A clean grill-top helps your food cook better—and taste better.
Dump the leftovers – If food has been standing out at room temperature or has been outdoors for more than two hours, toss it.