Top healthy grilling tips

With the temperatures mounting and the first long weekend of the season under our belt, there’s no doubt that BBQs will be lighting up across the country. But as the heat increases, the last thing we want is the size of our waist to grow along with it.

With rich creamy salads, fatty cuts of meat, oodles of toppings and bowls of ice cream, summer BBQ noshing can really add up. Here are our top tips to keeping it heart healthy over the next couple of months.

Summertime means grilling time – time with family and friends and time to enjoy delicious foods. There are all kinds of tasty foods to grill up, plus those sides, desserts and drinks that round out the meal.  The American Heart Association wants you to keep these important tips in mind to help you grill ‘fat-sensibly’ through the summer season.

For the protein

  • Opt for putting fish on the grill instead of rich red meats. Choose omega-3 rich salmon and tuna steaks. Enjoy them with a squeeze of lemon and fresh dill.
  • Choose chicken breast over legs and thighs. If you’re in the mood for a burger, try ground turkey instead of beef.
  • If you love red meat, go for leaner game meats, such as bison and elk.
  • When buying meat, try loin and round cuts, which are leaner than other varieties.
  • Try making your own black bean burgers as a great vegan alternative.

For the sides and snacks

  • Think in color. Try leafy green salads with olive-oil based dressings.
  • Use your favorite nut and seed butters, such as tahini and cashew, for cream-based salad dressings
  • Instead of chips, tortillas and pretzels, go for veggie trays with a dip such as hummus. For something salty and snacky, try air-popped popcorn. Add a little extra by tossing it with dried fruit, nuts, seeds and soynuts.
  • You can never go wrong with fresh, local fruit trays.
  • In fact, when you grill fruits – especially pineapple and peaches – the natural sugars caramelize and enhance the flavor.

For the rest

  • Choose low-fat, high taste condiments like mustard over mayo, and go easy on the sugar-laden ketchups and relishes.
  • Try salsa as a low-fat, savory topping
  • If making cheeseburgers, used aged cheddar or other strong cheeses instead of other varieties – a little goes a long way because they are big on taste
  • Buy whole-grain breads and rolls to house your burgers. Or try pita bread or tortillas – both the whole grain variety, too.
  • Soda pop can be a calorie killer; buy a bottle of club soda and 100% juice. Use about 1/4 cup of juice and fill the rest with ice and club soda – a perfect, fizzy treat.

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