Healthy Summer Grilling

By Christin Moggio

With summer in full swing, there has never been a better reason to fire up the grill and have a backyard barbecue.

Grilling is not only a great way to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, but can also be a healthy alternative to higher-fat cooking methods. By following just a few simple tips, you will be on your way to a summer full of healthy grilling.

Tip No. 1: The grill is not just for high-fat meats. When many of us think about grilling, the first foods that come to mind are often burgers, hot dogs and sausage. However, there are many healthy alternatives to soak up that delicious smoky flavor of the grill. Try some marinated skinless chicken breasts, lean turkey burgers or fresh fish instead.

Tip No. 2: Grilling can be a tasty way to get your veggies. Try grilling asparagus, portabella mushrooms, corn on-the-cob, zucchini, sweet potatoes or eggplant. And don’t be afraid to experiment with other non-traditional grilling foods as well such as quesadillas or veggie pizza. These are sure to be crowd pleasers.

Tip No. 3: Keep your grilled foods safe. Meats cooked at extremely high temperatures can develop cancer-causing agents called carcinogens; however, there are a few simple things you can do to limit carcinogens when grilling. Cook meats over lower temperatures and avoid well done or charred meat. Also, marinate meats prior to grilling in marinades containing olive oil, citrus or vinegar to help inhibit the formation of carcinogens.

Happy grilling!

Christin Moggio, MA RD LDN CNSD, is a nutrition support dietitian who works in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Rush University Medical Center.

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