Planning a Healthy Summer Barbecue

Enjoying summer soirées can have a negative impact on your waistline if you indulge in too many high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. However, you can make a few simple tweaks to create light, satisfying, nutrient-rich dishes.

Better Protein

Nothing says summer like a thick and juicy burger hot off the grill. Swap out conventionally raised red meat, which is high in saturated fat, with leaner sources of protein, such as bison, chicken or fish.

To ensure that leaner options are juicy and flavorful, marinate them in something acidic, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Marinate chicken for two hours to two days in the fridge, but limit fish to 30 to 60 minutes, as the flesh will “cook.” Heart-healthy olive oil and red wine are also good choices for chicken.

Va-Va Vegetables

To maximize the nutritional content of your grilled vegetables, boil them first. Carrots cooked in hot water before you slice them have higher levels of carotenoids, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry. Similarly, when you cook asparagus in boiling water, you may double the levels of phenolic acid, to which some studies have found a link to lower cancer rates.

When precooking for the grill, only cook for three to five minutes. To get the smoky flavor, cook vegetables over high heat briefly, then move to the cool side of the grill to finish cooking. Dense vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, cook well in foil packets, too. Season and steam in a foil packet for about 25 minutes before checking doneness.

Just Desserts

Enjoy a sweet finish to each meal with seasonal summer fruits. Grilled peaches and strawberries (use skewers) are delicious on their own or served over Greek yogurt. Grilled pineapple drizzled in a little bit of honey is also an excellent choice.,,,,

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