Summer is right around the corner, which means it’s time to keep it cool inside and turn up the heat on your grill! Barbeque is the trademark of summer, and while it can be fun to indulge, we’ve put together some tips to help you keep it safe and healthy.
Q: How do I grill safely?
A: From Masha Fox-Rabinovich, MA, RD, LDN, CDE, outpatient dietitian at Washington Adventist Hospital, and Nicole Garafalo, dietetic intern:
- Before cooking, clean the grill with hot, soapy water each time to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
- Allow the grill to heat up to the proper temperature to avoid potential bacterial issues.
- Keep a food thermometer on hand to check the temperature of the meats to prevent any foodborne illness. Burgers should be cooked until 160°F, chicken should reach 165°F, and steak should be about 145°F and let it rest for three minutes before cutting or eating.
Q: What are some healthy barbeque options?
A: From Masha Fox-Rabinovich, MA, RD, LDN, CDE, outpatient dietitian at Washington Adventist Hospital, and Phillip McGloin, student volunteer:
- Try leaner meats such as turkey burgers, grilled fish or chicken breasts (remove the skin before eating, ideally). If you are going to eat pork, hamburgers, or other meats, make sure they are lean and trimmed of fat, and eat them on a whole wheat bun as opposed to with white bread.
- Add some flavor to your food! Adding spices to the meat is a great way to pack in flavor without adding extra calories or fat.
- Season some cut up vegetables and add water, then wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil and grill until tender. Hearty vegetables that can take the heat of the grill include eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
- Potato and macaroni salads can often have a lot of calories and unhealthy fats. Leave the potato skins on and avoid the creamy toppings. Use whole wheat pasta and mix in plenty of fresh vegetables.
- Make sure to avoid the sugary drinks like sweetened teas, fruit punches and sodas. Try iced water, water with fruit mixed in, or unsweetened tea.
- Dessert can come from the grill too! Soak wooden or bamboo skewers in water for at least an hour and then add pineapple, peaches, or pears to the grill to use as a tasty topping for angel food cake or low-fat ice cream.
Look out for more healthy tips from our expert dietitian, coming soon! Do you have questions about food or nutrition? We’d like to hear from you! Post your questions in the comments section below and it could be featured in a future Ask the Dietitian post.