The Best Tips for Healthy Grilling
Move over, hot dogs; we've rounded up the best healthy grilling ideas for all the flavor with a fraction of the calories.
Clean the grill
Hosting a healthy backyard BBQ starts before you even fire up the grill. Wipe down the grates of your grill to remove old food and grease. This prevents sticking and burning, as well as removes carcinogens leftover from animal proteins like steak or burgers. Learn how to clean your grill for a healthier, tastier meal.
Choose lean protein
No one can resist a thick, juicy burger right off the grill. It’s great for special occasions, but for everyday grilling, explore lean proteins like chicken breast, turkey burgers or grilled fish. These lighter proteins will give you all the smoky flavor you crave, with less saturated fat.
Marinate, marinate, marinate
For tender meat that’s bursting with flavor, break out the easy marinade recipes. Marinating your meat before grilling infuses them with juicy flavor and prevents them from drying out. It can also prevent the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), cancer-causing chemicals that can be released during grilling.
Make your own rub
Skip the salty store-bought rubs and make your own dry rub for grilling. Rubbing chicken or tofu with a dry blend of herbs adds great flavor without extra salt or sugar. Plus, a savory rub will also cut down on the need for calorie-rich condiments at mealtime.
Cook your food evenly and prevent charred buildup by turning food often. Exposing animal proteins to an open flame can produce carcinogens, so turn your food frequently and remove it as soon as it’s cooked through. Many lean proteins like grilled barbecued chicken can quickly dry out, too, so keep an eye on the grill at all times.
Don’t forget the veggies
A backyard cookout usually conjures up images of sizzling burgers and plump hot dogs—but don’t let the meat steal the show! Grilling your vegetables adds a charred, smoky flavor and a tempting crunch to healthy side dishes. Set out a grilled vegetable platter for your family and watch how fast it disappears.
Foil packs for the win
For an easy weeknight meal, skip the Instant Pot and toss a few foil packets on the grill. Top a square of heavy-duty aluminum foil with healthy ingredients like lean proteins, chopped veggies and dried herbs. Turn a few times as you grill, and voila! A delicious, healthy dinner for any night of the week.
Go light on condiments
To cut fat, sugar and calories from your meal, have a light hand with the condiments. You can also opt for a healthier version; instead of dousing your burger in ketchup, try spicy chunky salsa, sauteed onions or homemade pesto.
Cut the carbs
Give your plain burger new life with a lettuce wrap or portobello bun. Trying burger bun substitutes at your next cookout cuts back on empty calories from white bread and adds fresh flavor to old favorites. And instead of the usual potato salad, add more healthy nutrients with a quinoa salad.
Serve healthy sides
When it comes to a healthy barbecue, it’s all about the sides! Skip the creamy pasta salad and delight your taste buds with grilled veggies, bright green salads and fresh fruit kabobs. Load up your picnic table with skinny side dishes to enjoy all the variety of a summer cookout without the food coma later.
Make grilled fruit for dessert
Make dessert the main event when you toss it on the grill for a light and healthy dessert. The sky’s the limit when it comes to grilled fruit recipes. Top grilled fruit like peaches, plums or pineapple with a little vanilla Greek yogurt; or add a splash of fun with grilled peach pineapple sangria for the adults.