As summer kicks in and temperatures soar, grilling rules. And what better way to simplify family meals while taking advantage the warm weather? Here are some tips on making it healthy but hearty enough for everyone:
Don’t Smoke – Avoid cooking on high heat for longer periods of time as this can produce carcinogens that have been linked to certain types of cancer. Cut off any burnt or black bits before eating. Also get in the habit of scrubbing down the grill rack after each use. Removing excess food prevents future charring, smoke and off-flavors in your food.
Look to Lean- The leaner the protein, the less chance of fat drippings causing smoke and burnt food. Look for cuts of loin, round or leg when selecting beef, pork or lamb. Try different fillets of fish (wrapped in foil.) Choose extra-lean ground beef, chicken or turkey for patties. Cook up veggie kabobs brushed in olive oil or grill portabella mushrooms for a rich, flavorful “burger”.
Dunk or Rub- Marinating or rubbing spices on meats and chicken before grilling adds flavor and may also reduce the formation of carcinogens. Use about ½ cup marinade for each pound of protein. Always discard the remaining marinade – never reuse after raw meat has touched it.
Think Outside the Grill – Get out of your steak, burger and hot dog rut. You can experiment with chili (place a cast iron pot right on the grill!), fruit, and even pizzas on your grill.
Portion Your Plate –Look to the new MyPlate food icon – fill half your plate with vegetables (grilled veggies, salad), a quarter with whole grains (rice, pasta, bread) and a quarter with lean protein (meat, chicken, fish, seafood, beans.)
Check out this month’s Sunshine Salsa recipe – the perfect summer side for grilled shrimp, chicken or fish!