When summer comes around, it’s time to fire up the grill. Here are a few tricks for grilling that make grilling time easier and keep your “summer body” in shape:
If you’re expecting a crowd at your cookout, try to prepare some of your menu in advance so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute and have time to enjoy a low-calorie cocktail or beer with your guests. Marinate items to be grilled overnight for extra flavor, and use two sticks for added support for kabobs.
Cook your proteins like a pro.
Have you noticed that when you order steak, chicken, or fish in a restaurant, it comes out better than when you grill it at home? It could be your technique. Grill masters have a few tricks that they use to ensure that all proteins are perfectly cooked, whether it’s filet, chicken breast, or fish and seafood. Using tongs to flip helps keep all the juices intact as does resisting the urge to constantly turn your meat over. Let steak or chicken rest for a bit before you slice and serve them. For seafood, try using a basket so that all of your shrimp or scallops get turned at the same time.
Add some flavor.
Some research has found that cooking meat at high temperatures increases the risk of cancer. Luckily, you can offset the carcinogenic risk of grilling without giving up what has become an American tradition. In an article found at newswise.com, adding rosemary extracts or Thai spices can significantly reduce the risk of carcinogenic compounds known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Both types of seasoning contain antioxidants, the key to reducing the growth of HCAs. Rosemary extracts have higher levels of antioxidants than the Thai spices, but both were found to be effective. In addition to spices, try a marinade. A simple vinegar-based salad dressing can add some zest to chicken breasts or veggies. Grill them together on a stick to create a kabob that is easy to cook and will please your guests.
Load up on fiber-rich and nutrient-dense sides.
Skip anything creamy and instead fill up on the basics, like grilled veggies, fruit salad, and green salads. Use vinaigrette dressings wherever possible and be on the lookout for hidden sugar bombs. Although beans are fiber-rich, baked beans often contain copious amounts of sugar. Mixed bean salads usually contain less sugar because they are seasoned in a vinaigrette. Keep your corn consumption to a minimum and control your carbs by skipping rolls and corn muffins. Instead try baked sweet potatoes or half of a baked potato.
Even dessert can be sweeter on the grill.
Stone fruits like peaches and nectarines get even sweeter after spending a little time on the grill. Top it off with a little frozen yogurt or drizzle of honey for a treat that is much healthier and lower in sugar than your average pie or s’more.