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Healthy Grilling: Tips for a Nutritious Barbecue

Summer is here, and that means it's barbecue season! Grilling is a favorite pastime for many, but it sometimes comes with a reputation for being less than healthy. However, with a few mindful choices, you can turn your barbecue into a nutritious culinary experience without sacrificing flavor. Here are some tips and recipes to help you enjoy a healthy and delicious grilling season.



Wellness-Focused Tips for Nutritious Grilling


Choose Quality Proteins

  • Opt for high quality cuts of meat like grass-fed beef, wild-caught fatty fish, and organic poultry. These are great choices as they contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

  • Include plant-based proteins such as tofu, tempeh, or portobello mushrooms for a nutritious and satisfying alternative, if you like! Marinate Wisely

  • Use marinades made from healthy fats, herbs, and spices. Olive oil, avocado oil, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, and fresh herbs not only enhance flavor but also provide antioxidants that can reduce the formation of harmful compounds during grilling.

  • Avoid store-bought marinades high in sugar and preservatives. Instead, create your own using natural ingredients. Incorporate Vegetables

  • Grilled vegetables are a delicious way to boost the nutritional value of your barbecue. Bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, and corn on the cob are all excellent choices.

  • Skewer mixed vegetables with chunks of protein for fun and easy-to-eat kebabs. Mind the Heat

  • Grill at lower temperatures to reduce the risk of formation of carcinogenic compounds. Aim for a medium heat setting, and cook slowly to ensure meats are thoroughly cooked without charring.

  • Use indirect grilling methods to avoid direct flames which can cause burning. This can be easily done on a gas or charcoal grill. Use Whole-Grain Buns

  • If you’re grilling burgers or hotdogs, switch to whole-grain or sprouted grain buns or wraps. These options are higher in fiber and nutrients compared to refined white buns. If you're avoiding gluten or grains, lettuce wraps and grain-free tortillas are great alternatives. Healthy Sides and Condiments

  • Serve sides like quinoa salad, mixed greens, or coleslaw with a light vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise-based dressings.

  • Use healthy condiments like avocado slices, homemade salsa, or Greek yogurt-based dips.



Healthy Grilling Recipes


Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/4 cup olive or avocado oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • Juice of 2 lemons

  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.

  2. Add the chicken breasts, coating them well with the marinade. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

  3. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill the chicken for about 6-7 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

  4. Serve with a side of grilled vegetables or a fresh salad.


Veggie and Tofu Skewers

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of firm tofu, pressed and cut into cubes (or sub for your favorite protein)

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks

  • 1 zucchini, sliced

  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks

  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, salt, and pepper. Add tofu and vegetables, tossing to coat.

  2. Thread the tofu and vegetables onto skewers.

  3. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill the skewers for about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and tofu is slightly charred.

  4. Serve with a whole-grain side dish or over a bed of greens.


Grilled Fruit Dessert

Ingredients:

  • 2 peaches, halved and pitted

  • 2 plums, halved and pitted

  • 1 pineapple, sliced

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium heat.

  2. In a small bowl, mix honey and cinnamon. Brush the fruit with the honey mixture.

  3. Grill the fruit for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until grill marks appear and the fruit is tender.

  4. Serve warm with a dollop of Greek yogurt or a sprinkle of fresh mint.



By incorporating these simple tips and recipes, you can enjoy a healthier barbecue season. These choices not only enhance the nutritional profile of your meals but also bring out delicious flavors that everyone will love. Happy grilling!


 

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