Grillin’ Up Goodness

For many of us, warmer weather and longer days means we’re spending more time outside, trying to soak in the transition from spring to summer. It’s finally that time of year again for pool parties and cookouts with family or friends, which means enjoying delicious food and drinks! We all love a good BBQ or afternoon spent by the grill, so how can we maximize our nutrition while grilling out?

Add some fruits and veggies! Did you know that grilling intensifies the flavor of both meats and fruits and veggies? Try grilling up kabobs with chicken or lean steak and then adding vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, or squash for a tasty way to sneak some veggies into your cookout! You can even try just grilling fruits and vegetables on their own for a delicious side dish, such as grilled cherries or peaches for a side salad or dessert!

Marinate your meat! There is research to suggest that grilling may produce harmful compounds that may have negative health effects. For most of us, the occasional grill-out likely isn’t going to have major impacts. However, there are a few things that you can do to reduce some of these compounds from forming, including marinating before you grill. Allowing your meat to sit in an acid based marinade (such as one containing lemon juice or vinegar) for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling is recommended by the American Institute for Cancer Research. Not to mention, it adds great flavor!

Skip the salt: Utilize fresh herbs and spices! If you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or are at risk for developing heart disease, chances are you are looking to reduce your sodium, or salt, intake. Herbs and spices are an incredible way to add flavor to your dish without excess sodium, and some can even provide antioxidant properties! Studies have shown that herbs, such as rosemary, sage, and oregano, have high antioxidant profiles and can be protective for health. Try a rosemary steak or grilled chicken with oregano and lemon juice to incorporate fresh herbs and spices to your meals!