We’ve been having a few back and forth conversations about healthy grilling and what methods or techniques could be used to grill healthier without sacrificing the mouthwatering flavors of wood-fired foods.
Dylan is very knowledgeable when it comes to health and wellness and given his experience with the topic, I knew he would be a great candidate to share his thoughts.
If this is the first time you’ve ever heard about ways to grill healthier without sacrificing flavor, then I am definitely not doing my job well enough. I have posted on healthy grilling techniques in the past and provide some great tips. I won’t get into it too deeply here, but if you are interested – I suggest you check it out.
Now that I’ve properly introduced Dylan and explained why he’s a knowledgeable source for healthy living, I’ll let him take it away!
Not only is it fun to have friends and family over for the occasional barbecue, but it can also be a healthier way of cooking.
Grilling provides an opportunity to eat nutrient-rich meats, more vegetables, and less unhealthy fat, among many other benefits.
If you’re looking for nutritious eating ideas that you can use all year, look no further.
These seven tips will have your family feasting on delicious and guilt-free meals in no time.
Load Up On Veggies
Eating a lot of veggies can help you lose weight because they’re low in calories and high in fiber, but there’s much more to them than that.
Raising your vegetable intake can also improve your immune system, regulate your digestive system, enhance your skin complexion, reduce stress and prolong your life.
Grilling veggies both directly and indirectly are good techniques.
When cooking them directly, you can cut larger vegetables including peppers, onions, and squash into smaller pieces to catch more of the grilled flavor. Put smaller or sliced vegetables (e.g., cherry tomatoes, beets, mushrooms) on a skewer.
You can also use a grill pan or aluminum foil pan to grill vegetables indirectly.
Whichever way you grill your veggies, use medium heat.
Find Healthy Recipes
Here are a few ideas for nutritious and scrumptious main and side dishes that will please the whole family:
- Grilled Avocado and Sweet Corn Salad
- Grilled Asparagus with Romesco
- Carrot Fries with Chipotle Lime Aioli
- Grilled Graffiti Eggplant with Roasted Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Ginger
- Grilled Vegetable Risotto
Go For Lean Meats
This means that they can help you build muscle more efficiently and help you lose weight.
Eating lean meats can also improve your cardiovascular health, as well as help you manage your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Many foods that are rich in protein are high in saturated fat, so you have to be selective when it comes to what meats you eat.
When you grill any kind of meat, be sure to clean the grill thoroughly before and after using it.
This will help reduce the number of carcinogens on the grill grates and make your food taste better.
Be sure to flip the meat whenever it’s able to come loose from the grill without pulling apart.
Also, constantly supervise the meat, as each type and size will cook at different speeds, and work the whole grill surface to avoid hot spots and burning.
Furthermore, be sure to cook each meat to its necessary temperature as fast as you can to keep charring to a minimum:
- 145 degrees for red meat steaks and chops
- 160 degrees for ground red meats and pork
- 165 degrees for poultry
Opt For White And Dark Meat
Here’s the thing: both are good for you. It depends on what your goals are and what your body needs.
White meat has fewer calories and less fat; if you want to lose or strictly manage your weight, pick white.
However, dark meat is richer in zinc, iron, vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin and thiamine.
Moreover, the fat and calorie content are not all that different between the two. For instance, turkey breast has roughly 1 gram of fat and 46 calories per ounce, while thighs have 2 grams of fat and 50 calories.
Choose Fatty Fish
Omega 3’s play an important role in the body’s structuring of cell membranes, providing the body energy and improving the functioning of the cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine and immune systems.
When grilling fish, it helps to cover the grates with aluminum foil and preheat the grill on high for 10 minutes.
Then, brush the fish with oil to create a good sear and avoid sticking, and cook on medium heat until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. You’ll want to flip the fish over about halfway through cooking.
Let It Marinate
When you grill meat on an open flame, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed in the meat, which studies have shown can increase the risk of various cancers.
The more you cook it, the more PAHs and HCAs that are formed. Therefore, well-done steak, burgers, and chicken with heavy char will contain more of these carcinogens.
When you use a marinade with herbs (e.g., thyme, sage, rosemary), it can help stabilize the sugars in the meat and lower the count of HCAs and PAHs.
Of course, marinating is also a great way to improve the flavor of whatever you’re grilling.
If you want to make your own marinade, putting meat, fish, or vegetables in a Ziploc bag of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper is a simple and tasty one to start with.
Control The Flames And Smoke
To control the smoke that occurs when fat drips from the meat to the grill, you can put aluminum foil with perforated holes on the grates.
Also, keeping a spray bottle of water nearby for high flames and cooking the meat at a lower temperature can help.
Wrapping It Up
Remember to grill a ton of vegetables, lean meats, and fatty fish.
Always keep your grill clean and cook meats and fish to the appropriate temperature.
Take advantage of marinade, and follow the other steps to keep the carcinogen count down and to ensure your food will be as nutritious and flavorful as possible.
Finally, research the plethora of healthy recipes that will have your family licking their fingers!
Dylan Foster is a writer at healthwellwise.com. He enjoys writing about topics related to how our homes affect our health and happiness. When he isn’t writing for the website, he works as an office assistant and enjoys hiking local trails with his dog, Samson.
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you have any tips for healthier grilling?
Have you grilled any of the recipe suggestions above?
What other recipes would you like to see?
Are you going to be purchasing a new grill in the future? Do you plan to look at a smoker, pellet grill, built-in or standalone gas grill, or charcoal model?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.
If you still have questions, please feel free to send me a message.
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A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, self-proclaimed grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!
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