Spring and summer bring evenings by the pool, family picnics, time on the boat and perhaps, most importantly, a whole lot of barbecue!
Barbecues may be the centerpiece of neighborhood parties or family gatherings, but the food we choose to grill can change our diet for the worse if we’re not careful. Do you want to grill healthy? Check out these tips:
10 tips on how to grill a better grill
- Choose lean cuts of meat to grill. Choose from a variety of skin-on poultry, fish and well-trimmed lean cuts of beef, lamb and pork. Look for cuts of meat with the term “round” or “loin” in the title. These are leaner cuts of meat that are good for grilling.
- Don’t forget your barbecue basket. Grill baskets are a great way to grill your favorite vegetables or fruits. A grill basket prevents more delicate foods from crumbling when flipped or falling through the grill grates.
- Choose meatier types of fish to grill. When grilling seafood or fish, choose meatier types of fish such as salmon, shrimp, mahi-mahi or tuna.
- Marinate or oil fish before grilling. Marinate or lightly oil the fish before placing it on the grill. This prevents the fish from drying out or sticking to the grill.
- Soak wooden skewers before grilling. Be sure to soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before using them. This will prevent the skewers from burning. Metal skewers can be reused and do not need to be soaked.
- Make kabobs. Kabobs are a great way to incorporate vegetables and fruit into your barbecue meal. By cutting meat, vegetables and fruit into smaller pieces, you reduce your grilling time and the chance of charring your meal.
- Clean your grill. Always clean your grill after each use. Using a steel grill brush to clean the grill will help eliminate possible cross-contamination as well as prevent the grizzle from igniting and burning your meal. It’s easiest to clean the grill when it’s still hot (but be careful!).
- Do not char meat. Crispy charred meat may taste good, but may not be good for your health. Potentially carcinogenic chemicals (HCAs and PAHs) can form when meat is cooked at a very high temperature over an open flame. Bottom line: Don’t overcook your favorite barbecue dishes.
- Turn your burgers often. Flipping burgers often reduces the chance of charring your meat and the possibility of eating potentially cancer-causing chemicals found in charred meat. A good rule of thumb: Turn your burgers every 2-3 times. minute.
- Do not use cooking spray when the grill is hot. Olive oil or canola oil cooking spray is a great way to reduce the calorie and fat intake of your meals as well as keep your food from sticking to the grill. However, if you use the spray when the grill is hot, the spray can cause the flames to pop up and burn you or your food (again, be careful!).
The next time you decide to have a backyard barbecue with friends and family, you’ll know exactly what to do to save yourself and your loved ones a lot of calories! Happy grilling!
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Photo credit: Getty Images
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