Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | June 17, 2010

Health up your BBQ this summer!

Summer time is here and as such evenings bring the smell of BBQ in my window.  Mmm! How I love that first steak of the year fresh off the grill with some potato salad, corn on the cob and a nice cold beer.  It’s easy to get carried away with the calories, salt and portions.

I wanted to share a few tips with you that may help keep your summer BBQ’s a little healthier this year.  The other amazing thing about summer is the produce.  Vegetables on the grill are absolutely delicious if done correctly.  Pick out your favorite vegetables:  summer squash, zucchini, asparagus, green beans, onions, mini bell peppers, eggplant, brussels spouts and turnips are some of my favorites.  Slice or dice them up.  Tear 2 pieces of aluminum foil equalize sized.  Place the vegetables on one piece of the foil and season.  I recommend using pepper and garlic powder and just a pinch of salt if needed.  Keeping true to Julia Childs, real butter creates the perfect flavor and prevents sticking.  1 Tbsp chopped into small pieces and sprinkled throughout will be enough.  There are healthier butter alternatives as well.  Cover with the second piece of foil and curl in edges to create a fully enclosed package.  Place them on medium heat of your grill for about 10 minutes on each side.  Cooking time varies depending on servings and the vegetables you’ve chosen.  Brussels sprouts, turnips and eggplant may take longer.  This cooking method creates a grilled but also steamed vegetable.  When tender, remove from heat and serve alongside a chicken cutlet, a nice cut of tuna, salmon or even a small strip steak.

Vegetables can also be placed directly on grill if cut into large pieces or placed on top of a sheet of foil.  If placing directly on the grill, be cautious of sticking.  Al Dente is always a safe bet to ensure you keep the vegetables moist and flavorful.  Overcooking can strip flavor and dry them out.

Leaner meats like chicken and fish are great sources of important vitamins and nutrients.  The American Heart Association recommends choosing fish, shellfish or poultry without the skin, and trimmed lean meats, no more than 6 ounces per day.  Oily fishes at least 2 times per week has proven to have great health benefits.

When seasoning your meats use fresh herbs and spices as well as lemon or lime.  Reduce your salts and pre-made seasonings.  They may be delicious but they are loaded with salt.

I recently read that the average person, without sodium related health issues, should consume no more than the following amounts of salt:

  • Age 11 years and over, 6g per day
  • Age 7-10 years, 5g per day
  • Age 4-6 years, 3g per day
  • Age 1-3 years, 2g per day

When selecting beverages for summer, remember that alcohol has a high fat content.  Many beers and wines are also high in sugar.  Select light beers and always drink alcoholic beverages in moderation.

Thanks for reading and if you have any healthy summer recipes to share, please email me at brendajhelps@yahoo.com or post directly to my blog.

Happy BBQing!!

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