Healthy Summer Grilling Tips & Picks

Grilling

Photo credit woodleywonderworks

Grilling season is officially here! As you fire up the grill, consider cooking up some healthier options.

For healthier grilling, follow these tips:

  • Choose cuts wisely – Stick to healthier leaner cuts of meat. Choose chicken breasts instead of fattier thighs and wings. Look for “loin” and “round” beef and pork cuts, such as tenderloin, top loin, ground round and 90-95% lean (fat-free) ground beef. Trim off fat around pork chops for a leaner meal. Kabob meat is often lean and fat-trimmed, whether beef, lamb or pork.
  • Add fish to the menu – Try grilling salmon and trout – delicious and high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Shrimp on skewers can be brushed with cilantro, fresh lemon juice and a touch of oil for great flavor!
  • Go bold on flavor – To add more flavor to grilled meals, try adding a variety of seasonings to your marinades, such as mustard seeds, paprika, ginger, or tumeric, or add sauces like Worcestershire, chili, hot peppers, vinegars or low sodium soy sauce. Or, try a prepared marinade, such as one of McCormick’s new Grill Mate sauces. Be sure to add a splash of lemon juice or citrus to any marinade to reduce carcinogenic by-products from meat fat dripping over hot charcoal.
  • Remove fat – Trim off visible fat and skin before grilling to reduce the fat and calories in meat and poultry entrees. Consider using a grill rack so fat can drip off. After cooking, drain “shine” off any cooked meat or ground beef or poultry patty.
  • Throw veggies on the grill – Vegetables take on a whole new flavor on the grill. For the best success, lightly coat veggies with olive oil (and a little flavored vinegar) before grilling to help your seasonings stick. To prevent burning, sear your veggies over high heat and then move them over to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. For smaller vegetables – like delicious cherry tomatoes – use a grill basket or skewers (pre-soaked in water to not burn), as these cook fast and you want to prevent them from rolling away.
  • Ensure your grill is ready to go – A great way to ensure your grill is ready is to use the 4-second rule. If you can hold your hand 4 inches above the grill for 4 seconds your grill is good to go. If you can’t, your grill is too hot and you are likely to burn your meal. If you can hold your hand for longer than 4 seconds your grill is not hot enough, so you’ll have trouble getting that nice sear on your meat or veggies.

Here are some of my favorite grilling recipes that can be enjoyed all summer long.

Grilled Salmon and Zucchini with Red Pepper Sauce (courtesy of Eating Well Magazine)

Take your grilled salmon to the next level with a delicious red pepper sauce. This salmon sauce is made of roasted red peppers, tomatoes and almonds and works as a tasty and nutritious sauce for grilled vegetables, too. The recipe can be found here.

Easy Barbecue Salmon (via Health Magazine)

This recipe calls for combining the sweet flavor of brown sugar and savory paprika for a delicious barbecue chicken rub. It’s ready in 30 minutes and is just about 300 calories. Check out the recipe here.

Grilled Beef Steaks with Ancho Chili Rub (via Beef It’s What For Dinner)

Choose a lean cut of beef and kick up the flavor with a tangy rub. This recipe combines chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, orange peel and cocoa powder. You can find the recipe here.

For more ideas on healthy eating and successful solutions, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips and eating plans makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/GeorgiaKostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.   

The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators.   

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