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Tips for Safe and Healthy Grilling

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Grilling food has long been an American pastime that celebrates the leisurely joys summer. It can also be a fun way to live more healthfully. Grilling gets us outdoors, and it can bring families and friends together for fresh and delicious summer meals.

Need Some New Grilling Ideas?

There is more to grilling than hotdogs and hamburgers! Try healthier alternatives such as chicken, shrimp, and fish, but don’t feel limited to grilled meats! Fruits and vegetables are wonderful options because enhances their natural flavors.

Grilled Vegetables: The Possibilities Are Endless!

Grilled vegetables are very versatile, and don’t have to stay on the sidelines of the meal!

  • Grilled portabello mushrooms or thick slices of eggplant are great options for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
  • Consider grilling corn on the cob, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, zucchini, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes.
  • Try brushing skewered vegetables with olive oil, grilling, and serving with a simple balsamic vinaigrette, and fresh basil.

Simple marinades can add a lot of flavor to your vegetables and keep them from drying out. Try marinating vegetables lightly in ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and soy sauce, Jamaican jerk sauce, or Italian dressing with fresh herbs.

Fruit? On a grill?

Yes! Grilling brings out the natural sugars in fruit and can be a healthy and delicious addition to any meal as an appetizer, side dish, or dessert.

  • Drizzle grilled peaches with a mixture of low-fat vanilla yogurt and cinnamon.
  • Grill sliced mangos or pineapple, and top with a drizzle lime juice, honey, and cilantro, and (optional) cayenne pepper.

Toss halved, pitted plums in a little melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Place in tin foil, cut sides up, with blackberries or raspberries on top. Grill until the plums are tender.

Does grilling pose any health concerns?

Grilling can mean preparing healthier options, but it is vital to reduce the carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects that grilling can present. If you love to grill, please consider the following tips:

  • Keep your grilling surface clean. Scrubbing with a wire brush before and after use will reduce the buildup of potential cancer-causing carcinogens. 
  • Look for lean cuts of meat and remove extra fat before grilling. This helps avoid flare ups and the resulting smoke where carcinogens may reside.
  • Choose foods with shorter cook times. This prevents carcinogen buildup on your food. Fish, shrimp, and vegetables are excellent options.

Grilling food enhances the dining experience, and when done correctly can be a safe and healthy way to enjoy your summer meals.

Happy grilling!

Visit these links to learn more about safe and healthy grilling:

Author: 
Brian Mitchell & Amanda Gallaher