Grilling Tips for the Health-Conscious

Featured Article,Healthy Recipes and Nutrition,Nutrition
June 1, 2011

Reach your health goals—deliciously—with these simple tips for your backyard barbecue.

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Mark Boughton Photography/ styling by Teresa Blackburn
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Lower-Sodium Grill-Out
To cut sodium, choose smarter spreads and use spices generously.

  • Be savvy about condiments. Look for “lower sodium” on labels, or opt for condiments with less than 100 mg of sodium per serving.
  • Make your own spread. Mash avocado with lime juice as a topping for grilled meats. Or, purée white beans, garlic and fresh parsley in a blender and spread on hot dogs.
  • Spice things up. Purée jarred red cherry peppers, red wine vinegar, ground red pepper and a dash of ketchup for homemade relish. Or, mix curry powder with white wine vinegar and yogurt.

Smart Fats Grill-Out
Pump up your omega-3s and cut saturated fat with these simple tips.

  • Flavor with citrus. Place thinly sliced lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruits on fillets or inside whole fish when grilling to mellow fishy tastes and brighten the freshness of seafood.
  • Build a better burger. Finely chop tuna or salmon fillets and mix with cilantro, garlic, lime juice and a splash of olive oil. Form into patties and grill on lightly oiled rack for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Kabob it! Thread similarly sized shrimp and pineapple or pieces of tuna fillet with sweet red pepper on skewers.

Whole Grains Grill-Out
Whole grains boost your fiber intake and fill the plate when meat portions are smaller.

  • Experiment with sides. Whole wheat couscous cooks in only five minutes; mix in fresh herbs and lemon juice. Or, use brown rice to bulk up colorful veggie salads.
  • Go with tradition. Surprise! Corn on the cob—the classic barbecue side—is a whole grain.
  • Think beyond the bun. Serve grilled meats on whole-grain pita bread or flatbread.

More Fruitful Grill-Out
The choices for adding more sweet summer fruit are endless.

  • Fire up the fruit. Halve and pit stone fruits like peaches, nectarines and plums, and place on an oiled rack to grill for 3 to 5 minutes. Drizzle with honey.
  • Sweeten your salsas. Splash a combo of melons and tropical fruit with lime juice, sprinkle with chili powder and a dash of salt for a refreshing side to grilled meats.
  • Don’t forget dessert. How about warm S’mores Bananas? Grill unpeeled bananas on lightly oiled rack for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once. Remove from heat and wrap with a towel. Slice down the center but not through; press chocolate chips, miniature marshmallows and graham crackers into the opening.
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