Warmer temperatures mean most of us head to the great outdoors for fun and recreation. Heading outside for dinner can also be a great decision for your health – grilling is one of the easiest ways to make flavorful food without the preservatives, added fats, and other obstacles to great health.
Grill in batches
I love grilling, not just for dinner, but for an entire week’s worth of meals. Grill your food in batches, and wrap your proteins in heavy duty foil to protect them in the freezer. This makes healthy lunches for work a snap. Heat up your protein and some frozen vegetables, and you have a nutritional, filling lunch in almost no time.
If you prefer fresh veggies to frozen, roast your vegetables in smaller batches, and keep them in the refrigerator. Remember that food can be kept for four days in your fridge before being eaten.
Lay off the sauce
It’s tempting to pour a sugary, sodium-packed prepared sauce all over your meat before putting it on the grill. Avoiding this temptation is key to keeping your grilled meals as healthy as possible. Instead of prepared sauces, create your own marinades with simple ingredients like olive oil, lemon or lime juice, and freshly prepared mustard. Don’t forget to add your favorite fresh or dried herbs and spices to pack a flavorful punch without the sugar and sodium.
Cook it through
Healthy grilling begins – and ends – with good food safety. It’s easy to toss food on the grill and walk away, without paying good attention to its temperature. Investing in a good, accurate meat thermometer will keep your family safe, as will these easy tips.
- Chicken and seafood should go straight from the refrigerator to the grill, stopping only to season them if they haven’t been marinated. Beef can be warmed to room temperature, but shouldn’t be allowed to stay there long.
- Keep your food colder than 45°F or warmer than 140°F. This range is prime bacteria growing temperature, so stay on either side of it to keep your food safe.
- Avoid contaminating your cooked proteins with the bacteria from uncooked ones. This means using one set of tongs for cooked food, and one for raw, along with a separate platter for cooked and uncooked foods. It also means making sure your cooked veggies don’t make contact with raw meats.
Summer grilling is a great way to prepare healthy, delicious foods for your family, as long as it’s done with an eye to safety. Happy grilling!