By Fred Kedzior and Joy Saudargas, RD, LDN, Clinical Nutritionist within the Crozer Keystone Health System
Summer is an ideal time to fire up the barbeque, enjoy the nice weather, and hang out with friends. While the traditional grilling favorites are usually unhealthy snacks and calorie laden charred meats, there are fun and healthy options for the grill. Staying healthy on the grill means making the right choices in foods you eat. It also means keeping the grill clean to lower the levels of carcinogens which have been linked to various types of cancer.
A Clean Grills Is a Healthy Grill
Harvard Health Publications Blog warns that a dirty grill with charred build up can transfer to your food leaving a burnt taste and excess carcinogens. Simple scrubbing with a metal wire brush and a quick wipe with a paper towel will keep your grill clean. Limit the smoke and fire to lower the carcinogens by lining the grill with hole punched aluminum foil and keep a spray bottle of water close to control flare-ups. Marinate meats before cooking to limit the formation of potential carcinogens and add extra flavor to your grill favorites. Practice safe grilling by keeping raw meats, poultry, or fish refrigerated until ready to grill. You should also keep meats separated from vegetables and other foods in order to limit cross contamination. The USDA offers tips for keeping food safe. Grill fruits and vegetables to keep a balanced and nutritious meal.
5 Great Fruit and Vegetable Grillers
Nontraditional options for the grill will keep your meal healthy and your guests amazed by the scope of surprising possibilities. Try these uncommon grilling options which allow you to avoid the grease and guilt of summer.
- Charred Romaine Lettuce (My Fxavorite): Low in calories and a rich source of vitamins, A, K, and C, the smoky flavor will add a flare to your Caesar salad.
- Grilled Mango: A sweet twist to your burger or a fancy dessert option, mango is packed with dietary fiber, vitamin B6, A and C.
- B-B-Q Portobello Mushrooms: These fungi’s nutrition profile includes potassium, selenium, and copper. Great as a burger topper or veggie burger alternative, Portobello caps are very versatile.
- Crisp Asparagus: Easy and fun, asparagus can be cleaned and marinated in a zip lock bag with olive oil then grilled. Packed with a wide range of vitamins and nutrients, asparagus is as fun to eat as it is to make.
- Seared Pineapple: As a dessert or a side, Pineapple intensifies in flavor when on the grill. Its health benefits include a rich source of fiber and the enzyme bromelain, which may help in digestion.