Grilling can be healthy too! It’s a great way to prepare meats and vegetables that are packed with flavor and often lower in fat, since little fat is typically added during preparation. Follow these simple steps for a cookout with Dad that’s tasty and good for you.
CHOOSE HIGH-QUALITY MEAT
Meat is often the star of the cookout, so make sure you choose high-quality lean proteins for a delicious and healthy main course. Visit the meat and seafood department at the grocery store for lean cuts of beef like sirloin or tenderloin, all-natural chicken, and fresh seafood. You can find something to satisfy every taste bud. Make sure to store proteins promptly when you arrive home, and if you buy frozen, make sure to thaw properly as well.
If you are choosing leaner proteins for less saturated fat, marinating them for 30 minutes to one hour prior to cooking helps to break down the proteins, keeping your meat tender and juicy similar to a fattier cut of meat. You can even make your own marinade. The ingredients include olive oil, something acidic like citrus fruits or vinegar, and your favorite herbs and spices. Get creative and mix it up with different flavor pairings!
DIAL DOWN THE HEAT
When proteins in meat, chicken and fish are cooked at searing temperatures, cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, can form, especially where meat is charred. Lower temperatures keep charring to a minimum, so think low and slow when grilling meats. Flipping food frequently can also prevent crusting.
ADD HEALTHY SIDES
Don’t forget to add a healthy side like a salad or pre-cut and washed vegetables from the produce department. You can even grill fruits and vegetables. Veggies like peppers, onion and squash stay crunchy with a smoky flavor, making them delicious on the grill. Grilling fruits like watermelon or pineapple caramelizes the sugars and intensifies the flavor. Pair alongside frozen yogurt for a sweet treat that is full of vitamins and minerals as well.