The summer season is in full swing, which likely means you’ll be firing up the grill. But before you do, consider the following tips for a healthy BBQ dinner.
- A healthy BBQ starts with choosing the leanest cuts of beef and pork to eliminate large portions of extra fat. Always remove the visible fat from your meat before cooking.
More Healthy Summer Grilling Tips
- Try cutting serving sizes and grilling your meat in smaller portions. Make 1/4 pound burgers instead of 1/3 pound, or grill filet mignon-sized steaks instead of 10-ounce or higher.
- Avoid processed meats like hot dogs and sausages, which are high in saturated fats. Instead, choose healthy BBQ meat options such as turkey or soy hot dogs that contain less total and saturated fat than beef or pork.
- Half the fat (including half the saturated fat) in chicken is in the skin, so take the skin off before you prepare it for cooking. If you try to take the skin off before eating, you’ll lose all the sauces and seasoning.
- A heart-smart and healthy BBQ must also include vegetables––corn on the cob, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini. Consider making kabobs of alternating meat and vegetables. Cut vegetables into slices and brush them with olive oil for a quick way to add some nutrients to your meal.
- Remember the fat and calories in your sauces and marinades. Savoury and healthy BBQ sauces like tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, chilli sauce and soy sauce (use brands with less sodium) add bold flavour without too many calories. You can also try more natural seasonings like fresh herbs and spices, sea salts or olive oils to give you an even more flavourful and healthy BBQ. Avoid ketchup and sauces that are full of corn syrup and preservatives.
- Choose whole grain buns instead of white buns. They are higher in fibre and lower on the glycemic index.
With a few changes to your grilling style, you can easily create tasty and healthy BBQ meals that everyone will enjoy.
By: Ali Enver, Masters candidate and Dr. Richard Tytus