Have a Healthy Barbecue: Part 2
Kids may be heading back to school, but there are still plenty of warm, long summer days left to enjoy grilling outdoors. Since traditional barbecue fare is not always the healthiest, Good Measure Meals Registered Dietitian, Alissa, is back with Part 2 of our healthy barbecue series to help you navigate the summer grilling season while staying on track with your health goals.
Meat, Poultry, & Fish.
Let’s start with meat, the backbone of almost any barbecue. The good news is that grilling is actually a super healthy cooking method! Grilling heats meat evenly, retains moisture, and lends great flavor without the need for added fat during the cooking process. The problem, however, is the types of meat we usually choose to grill. Processed meats like hot dogs tend to be high in sodium and preservatives; red meat and skin-on poultry can contain a lot of saturated fat. Here are some healthy grilling tips to satisfy your taste buds while keeping you heart (and waistline) healthy and happy.
• Grill fish more often. Salmon, trout, and herring are especially heart-healthy. They are packed with essential omega-3 fatty acids, which can help raise your HDL-cholesterol (the good kind!).
• Skinless chicken breasts are best. Most of the saturated fat is contained within the skin of poultry, and high intakes of saturated fat raises LDL-cholesterol (the bad kind) increasing risk for heart disease. Protect your health by skipping the skin on poultry (grilled chicken is so moist and flavorful, you won’t even miss it!) Choose white meat over dark to further cut down on saturated fat.
• Make turkey or chicken burgers using ground breast meat, and look for “98% lean” on the package. Mixing in diced onions and peppers to your burgers before cooking is a great way to add extra nutrients, fiber, texture and flavor.
• Choose lean cuts of meat. When going with red meat, the “loin” and “round” cuts of pork and “choice” or “select” grades of beef are typically your lower fat options. The more marbling you can see, the higher the fat content. Even when you purchase a lean cut, it is still a good idea to trim off visible fat before cooking.
• Use a rack so the fat drips away from the food before you dig in.
Make your own marinade.
Grilling itself adds smokiness and moistness to meat, fish and poultry, but a little marinade can boost the flavor and help tenderize even more. Instead of store-bought versions that can be high in sugar, sodium and preservatives, try making your own. This homemade marinade recipe is sure to impress your guests while also being heart and waistline friendly. It’s perfect for chicken, but works well on steak and fish as well. Try this recipe as is, or use it as a base and experiment with different herbs and spices to change up the flavor profile.
- 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk lemon juice, vinegar, dill, basil, honey, mustard, pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt until well blended. In a slow stream, whisk in oil until blended.
- Place chicken breasts in a large resealable bag with 1/3 cup of the dressing and half the lemon slices. Seal bag and refrigerate 2 hours to marinate, turning at least once. Reserve remaining dressing to pour over cooked chicken after grilling, and season with remaining salt if desired.
- This recipe makes the right amount of marinade for 6 medium-sized chicken breasts. Adjust accordingly for the quantity you're preparing.
• Flexible Support to Fit Your Lifestyle: Summer is the perfect time of year to grill outdoors and enjoy seasonal produce, but you can still have structure and support for the rest of your day with a Good Measure Meals Breakfast & Lunch plan.
• Need to reset after a big weekend of food-related activities or overindulgence? Get right back on track Monday morning with a Good Measure Meals meal plan. Browse menus.
• Want more support? Individual nutrition counseling can help you navigate the summer BBQ season while pursuing your health goals. Schedule a COMPLIMENTARY 10 minute nutrition coaching call with a Good Measure Meals Registered Dietitian. Learn more about nutrition services available.
This post was contributed by Good Measure Meals Registered Dietitian, Alissa Palladino.