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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Ancona, MS, RDN, CDN

Healthy Ways to Utilize the Grill

Once the weather gets warmer, the grills come out! This source of cooking not only adds flavor, but is one of the healthier options as well. Below are some quick tips to make the most out of your grilling season.

There are a variety of protein sources that taste amazing on the grill as well!! First, always start with a lean cut of meat. It is important to trim off any excess visible fat, and remove the skin off of poultry before grilling. This not only aids in clean cooking and decreases overall saturated fat, but also limits fat drip flare ups that can char the meat. Choosing 93% or leaner beef, turkey or chicken breast as your leaner meats will be a healthier choice as well. Chicken breast, turkey burgers, and even veggie burgers taste incredible on the grill!!

Another protein source can actually be cooked on the grill also. Fish not only tastes great on the grill, but provides us with healthy fats and higher amounts protein per serving. Similar to chicken, three ounces of fish can provide 20-25 grams of protein plus the omega-3 fatty acids. We need these fatty acids to decrease inflammation and help increase blood circulation. Wrap any type of fish in foil when grilling to keep it moist.

Second, choose your own marinade or create your own sauce. For a marinade to be both effective and healthy, they require an acid for meat tenderization, strong herbs and spices for flavor, a little bit of oil for moisture, and the timing needed to complete the overall process. It is important to include items with both healthy fats and lower sodium such as olive oil, lemon and lime juice, low-sodium soy sauce, wine, apple juice, Worcestershire sauce and yogurt. You can add flavoring to meat marinades with various herbs, spices, and aromatics such as thyme, oregano, sage, garlic, ginger, onion and rosemary.

Next, try grilling more fruits and vegetables! These are a great way to add both flavor and fiber to your summer meals. You can sweeten grilled produce with citrus juice, maple syrup, or honey. To turn up the heat add either chili powder, smoked paprika or curry blend. To provide more of a savory flavor, add in vinegar, herbs, and barbecue sauce! Some of the best options of vegetables to grill are: eggplant, asparagus, portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, corn, sweet potatoes, and zucchini. Some of the best fruits to include are: peaches, pineapple, watermelon, and bananas. Grilling your produce is both healthy and delicious!!

We hope you enjoy the start to this amazing grilling season!!

Until Next Time,

Katherine Ancona, MS, RDN, CDN

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