This weekend here in the U.S. is Memorial Day Weekend which over the years has become is the “unofficial” start of summer. It’s also a time when many people dust off the grill for some serious barbecuing.
When we think of BBQ’s we often think of hamburgers and hotdogs. Though I love the occasional burger on the grill, there are so many other foods that are GREAT on the grill. Grilling can be an easy way to add new foods into your diet. BBQ’s can be fun, healthy and even good for you.
You just need to follow some of my tips:
Grill some fish. Best to grill thick choices like salmon, tuna, or mahi mahi as they’re less likely to flake and fall through the grill. Besides, the thicker ones are easier to turn over. Grilled salmon is one of my favorites and a summertime staple for me!
Grill vegetables. Try zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and even tomatoes. You can also put them on skewers for a nice touch as a side dish.
Forget your buns. No, not your butt, the buns for the burgers and hotdogs! If you’re trying to lose weight, forget about the rolls or buns made from white flour. Okay, I know a burger is NOT the same without a roll. So try the rolls made of whole grains with fiber. Honestly, they taste pretty much the same as the white ones but are much healthier.
Marinate. Marinate meat, chicken or fish to add more flavor and keep the meat tender and juicy. If you’re in a hurry, you can use the store bough marinades or salad dressings. Just be aware that those store brands can be loaded with salt so best to make your own. Use olive oil, lemon juice, low-salt soy sauce, or even wine.
Trim the Fat. When possible, choose lean, well-trimmed meat. Not only is it healthier but there’s less fat to drip into the flames (which can cause the meat to burn, which not only doesn’t taste good but can be unhealthy). Take off any skin from chicken, turkey and other poultry, and try to avoid high-fat meats like sausages or ribs (sorry Texans!).
Try sweet potatoes. They’re an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene), and a very good source of vitamin C. In addition, they’re a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Despite the name “sweet”, they may be a beneficial food for diabetics, as preliminary studies on animals have revealed that it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and lowers insulin resistance. Just grill them like you would a regular baked potato – wrapped in aluminum foil.
Have dessert. Grilling fruit is one of the best kept secrets! Grilling helps bring out fruits’ sweetness as it extracts the natural sugar by caramelizing the surface. The heated sugar liquefies and becomes a brown, sweet syrup. It’s a wonderful way to end a BBQ, and you can even add a (small) scoop of vanilla ice cream for a treat! Good fruits to grill are pineapple, pears, apples, and peaches.
So BBQ-ing or grilling can be healthful without being boring. Just be sure to fill up on the good stuff and keep the calorie-laden foods to a minimum. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to get my calories from the meat (whether it be fish, chicken or meat) and “save” any extra calories for a nice, small scoop of vanilla ice cream to go with the grilled fruits.
What do YOU like to grill on the BBQ? What are some of your healthy options?