As summer heats up, many of us are heating up our patios by throwing some delicious meats on the grill! But while many of us think of grilling as a healthy option, there are some things we can do to make grilling even healthier.
You are unique and so is your body! Before starting any new health routine, always be sure to talk with your doctor to make sure it is right for your needs.
Stick to lean meats while grilling
Lean meats have less fat and are therefore lower in overall calories. Plus, they are better for your grill too! Fatty protein can drip grease onto your grill and cause flare ups that can singe or burn your food. Next time you fire up the grill, consider throwing on meats like skinless, white-meat chicken, ground turkey breast or pork tenderloin.
Eat the right portions
As obvious as it might sound, eating the right amounts of food for your body is key to enjoying healthy grilling all summer long. Some health experts recommend treating meat like a side dish, not the main dish. Another tip for making sure you have the right amount of grilled goodness on your plate is to aim for your meat portions to be about the size of a deck of cards.
Try out marinades
Marinating your meat is a quick, simple, make-ahead way to add insane flavor to your food with minimal impact on your health and fitness goals. In fact, studies seem to show that marinating your meat can help reduce heterocyclic amines (HCAs) produced during barbecuing. Depending on what you plan to grill, simply throw the meat (or even veggies) in a large ziploc bag along with the marinade of your choice and let the ingredients work their magic! Time is your ally for maximum flavor and tenderness.
Precook meats in the microwave
Not only does precooking meat in the microwave cut down on grilling time (a bonus on hot summer days), but according to the National Cancer Institute, microwaving meat for two minutes before grilling reduces heterocyclic amine (HCA) levels by up to 90%.
Opt for whole grain buns
One easy way to make your summer barbecuing healthier is to reach for the whole grain buns. Opting for 100% whole wheat bread ups your fiber intake and potentially lowers calories.
Cook meat at lower temperatures
High heat cooking is known to lead to potential health risks, so when you are grilling, low and slow is the way to go! Cook at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time for juicier, healthier meals. Just check your meat with a meat thermometer to be sure your food is fully cooked.
Before you eat grilled meat, cut off the charred parts
Crispy, crunchy and smoky, the burnt edges of grilled meat are often people’s favorite part. But do yourself a favor and cut those parts off! According to several studies published in the last two decades, eating charred, smoked and well-done meat can increase your risk of certain cancers.
Veggies are great for grilling too
Throwing burgers on the grill is a summer no-brainer, but have you ever invited veggies to the party? If not, do not let another summer go by without giving this a try! It’s quick, easy and seriously amps up the nutrition of any meal. Grab some kabob skewers from the grocery store, chop up a few of your favorite veggies, spray some aluminum foil with oil and lay the skewers out on the foil on the grill. Voila! Delicious, flavorful, healthy sides ready in minutes.
Be sure to clean your grill after you’re done grilling
When properly cleaned after every use, the grates on your grill will avoid getting a heavy build up of crusted-on food and grease. As gnarly as this task can be, it is important because when that build up happens, carbon and other carcinogenic toxins can build up and transfer to your other cooked foods. This is damaging to both your grill and your health.
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