Tag Archives: summer

Savor Summer with Smart Grilling Tips

Grilled Vegetables

Summer is in full swing. What better time to take advantage of the season than firing up the grill for a summer cookout while taking advantage of the season’s freshest ingredients.

To ensure your summer BBQ is flavorful and healthy, follow these simple tips:

  • Experiment with Marinades: You can add a lot of flavor without adding too many calories, salt, sugar and fat. In fact, spicing up your meat not only helps with flavor but can also make it healthier. Spices and herbs high in antioxidants and ingredients with Vitamin C help get rid of harmful HCAs (heterocyclic amines) formed when meat fat drips on a hot grill. So be sure to add lemon juice , orange juice or pineapple juice to your marinade, as well as great plant seasonings  such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, garlic or onion. Toss out used marinade. Never add it to a cooked food.
  • Trim Fat: Before firing up your grill, take the time to remove excess fat from m Buying lean beef or pork or lamb cuts will also help eliminate some of the saturated fats consumed. Lean cuts include flank steak, pork or beef tenderloin, skirt steak, fat- trimmed leg of lamb, or lean ground beef.
  • Go for Seafood: The grill is not just for meat. It’s a delicious and healthy way to cook seafood, too. Opt for lighter marinades that won’t overpower the taste of your seafood. Firm fish, such as tuna, salmon or snapper prove to be much better options for grilling as opposed to delicate, flaky fish like cod and tilapia. Firmer fish do much better with the high heat of the grill and smoky flavor. For shellfish, like shrimp or scallops, choose jumbo varieties and consider using a basket or skewers, which handle better on the grill.
  • Add vegetables: Add vegetables to the grill every chance you can. They are delicious and you won’t have to worry about overcooking. Add a little olive or canola oil to your veggies or marinade them. Make kabobs, using half meat and half vegetables . Grill extra veggies on the grill, in foil, or in a grilling basket to enjoy tomorrow as a side, snack or add to a salad or sandwich. Grill ears of corn in their husk (after soaking in water to prevent burning). Get creative. Grill romaine lettuce leaves, whole onions, pineapple or peach slices – all rich in flavor.

For some creative ideas, check out the recipes below for some of my favorite summer grilling recipes:

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

 

Eat Local to Enjoy Summer’s Freshest Foods

Today’s grocery shoppers have no shortage of options. You can buy produce that was once just available for a few weeks each year on any given day. Fresh blueberries in February or corn on the cob in November, Americans have the luxury of choice, no matter what the time of year may be.

Eating locally grown, seasonal foods, however, has a wealth of benefits. It’s not only better for the environment, but also your health. In fact, locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables are usually purchased just after harvest time. Because nutritional value can decline dramatically as time passes after harvest, eating locally grown produce ensures you are eating foods at their peak quality of freshness and nutrition.

This summer follow these tips to give your pantry a seasonal makeover and ensure your food picks offer the optimal nutritional value.

Find out what’s in season. Stay in the know on what’s in season and consider making a seasonal buying guide. This summer, be on the lookout for cucumber, eggplant, peppers and summer squash and fruits like apricots, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries and watermelon. When summer closes, consider altering your shopping list for in-season foods locally grown, instead of shipped in from thousands of miles away.

Hit up farmer’s markets. Did you know there are over 3,100 farmers markets in the U.S.? Most farmers’ markets have formed relationships with local farmers and feature locally grown products at their food stands. Enjoy the bounty of fresh, beautiful produce in season like melons, tomatoes, peaches, plums, sweet corn and asparagus. To find what markets are in your area, go here.  Be sure to ask vendors where their foods are grown.

Read labels. Look for signs at grocery stores that tell you where your meat, seafood and produce come from. Opt for foods grown closer to home. Shop at grocery stores that indicate the geographic origin of foods. More and more mainstream grocery stores are catching on to this trend.

Get digging. There are many foods that are easy to grow in your very own backyard and you often don’t need a full-fledged garden. Consider planting a simple herb garden. If you don’t have a lot of space, use a window box or flowerpot. Lots of food can grow and be ready to eat in just a month’s time, including lettuce, arugula and radishes, and herbs such as basil, dill, mint and cilantro.

Dine out, mindfully. Choose restaurants in your area that purchase foods from local and regional farms. Ask around at restaurants about their ingredients and find out where they come from. You can also ask folks at the farmer’s market what restaurants typically purchase food from them.

You are likely to find eating locally grown food can be a big transition but the benefits are plentiful. Consider making the change gradually and your choices will add up over time. And be sure to keep in mind the big picture – the closer the food is grown to home, the better the food is likely to be for your taste buds and health.

For more ideas on heart-healthy eating, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating fun and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia Kostas Nutrition 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.

Healthy Grilling Tips

With the first long weekend of the season under our belt, summertime is here and grilling season is in full swing. Follow these tips to pump up the flavor and enjoy a backyard feast that is healthy and tasty.

  • Go lean. Put the focus of your cookout on lean meat. Toss omega-3 rich fish, like salmon and tuna steaks, on the grill and add a squeeze of lemon and fresh dill for extra flavor. For red meat lovers, cuts that include the words “loin” or “round” will be your best bet. Be sure to trim excess fats before grilling.
  • Rub it in. Choose dry rubs over marinades, which often contain unhealthy syrups and oil. For an extra punch, consider rubbing your meat with a favorite spice like cumin, rosemary, chili or garlic.
  • Control portions. With buffet style eating at backyard BBQs, it’s easy to help yourself to excessive amounts. Keep in mind that a serving of meat should be about the size of the palm of your hand.  To avoid over-eating, try cutting meats, veggies and fruits in small pieces and put them on a skewer. Enjoy the variety of textures and flavors along with healthy sides.
  • Mix it up. Add fresh foods, like veggies and fruits, to your grill. Some great grilled veggie options include asparagus, broccoli, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, sliced sweet potatoes, squash or zucchini. For fruit, pineapple and peaches are great options as their natural sugars caramelize and enhance the flavor.
  • Top it off. Forgo high-calorie toppings, like mayo and full-fat cheese. Instead, serve up chopped cilantro leaves and shredded cabbage with a squeeze of lime. Spice it up with some jalapenos and fresh salsa. Add avocado slices for some healthy fat with that similar, creamy consistency of mayo or cheese.  Or try a little low-fat sharp cheese like Cabot Reduced-Fat Jalapeno Jack  – a little goes a long way for flavor.
  • Think outside the bun. Choose wholegrain breads to house your grill favorites. Pita bread and tortillas also make great options. Be sure to choose the wholegrain variety.
  • Eat seasonal. Pick the perfect produce and offer up healthy side dishes incorporating your favorite foods that are in season. This summer, look for berries, watermelon, tomatoes and corn. Use leftovers to add crunch and flavor to salads the next day.

For more ideas on heart-healthy eating, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating fun and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia Kostas Nutrition 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.