Summer is here and it's time to take advantage of the warm weather. So, go outside, remove the cover off the grill because the heat isn't the only thing sizzling in the summer heat. Get ready for your next summer barbecue. It's a time when family and friends gather to enjoy delicious, mouthwatering favorites straight from the grill, with all the trimmings. For those who have adopted a healthier lifestyle, the fear of straying from their newfound habits can come to a fizzle. Registered dietitian Susan Bowerman reminds us how we can stick with our wellness goals while still enjoying the things we love.
Tips for a Healthy Summer Barbeque
One way to stay on track is to plan ahead. For example, if you're hosting a summer barbeque, consider having a meal replacement shake for breakfast or lunch which will free up a few extra calories for dinner. Also, offer smart choices for your friends and family such as salads, fruits, and flavored seltzer water or other low calorie beverages. It's delicious, refreshing and a great alternative to soda and juices. As the host, you can have fun with the following healthy summertime grilling tips.
Meat and poultry can taste great after the barbecue treatment.
The trick is to keep the grill temperature moderate. When the heat is too high, you run the risk of charring the outside of your meat, while leaving it uncooked in the middle. And, if you leave meats over high heat for too long, they can end up tough and dry.
One technique that works well with chicken is to precook it in the microwave. Remove the skin, and then rub the chicken pieces with a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasoning. While your coals are heating up, microwave 4 to 6 pieces at a time on high for about 15 minutes. Then, transfer the chicken to your heated grill to finish cooking, and turn the pieces frequently. You'll reduce your cooking time by about half, and your chicken will end up tender and juicy.
Keep your fish from flaking.
What works best is to make kabobs with pieces of firm fish like swordfish or tuna, or whole peeled shrimp. You can also grill whole fish or fish filets on a piece of foil or in special fish grilling baskets. No need to pre-cook, though, since most fish tends to cook quickly.
Grill multi-tasking your sides and desserts
While the grill is hot, why not take advantage of the heat to cook your side dishes, too? You can grill almost any veggie, but thick slices of eggplant, summer squash, and onions are especially good – so are bell pepper wedges and asparagus spears. Thickly sliced potatoes are great grilled as a side dish on their own, or in a grilled potato salad. Brush veggies and potatoes with a little Italian dressing and place them along the sides of the grate where there's less heat, and flip them over frequently until they're tender.
If you've never grilled fresh corn, you're in for a treat. Simply pull back the husk and remove the silk, then brush the cobs lightly with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the ears back in the husk and put directly on the grill. Turn them frequently, and they'll be done in about 15 minutes or so.
You can even grill up some dessert! Pineapple, apples, peaches, nectarines, and bananas all take well to a little time over the flame, and they're easy to prepare. Just core the pineapple and cut into rings or use canned juice-pack pineapple rings, and for the apples, peaches, or nectarines, merely remove the core and leave the skin on. Then grill along the outside edges until the sugars start to caramelize and the fruit is tender. Grilled fruit is delicious on its own, but you can dress it up with a drizzle of citrus juice or cinnamon and then enjoy it on top of frozen yogurt.
For more healthy summer tips and recipes from Susan, visit www.DiscoverGoodNutrition.com.
Written by Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife Nutrition for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.