Grilling is one of the healthiest cooking methods, and the nutritionists at GIANT Food Stores are offering tips on how to enjoy the bounty of fresh, local produce and the delicious taste of low fat protein varieties this summer.
Check out these healthy ideas to throw on the grill!
- Choose cuts of meat that have less fat marbling such as sirloin or tenderloin and chicken or turkey breasts.
- Going leaner doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste! Whether seasoning meat, fish or vegetables, keep it low in sodium by using fresh or dry herbs, spices, powders, pre-made salt free seasoning blends. Make a marinade with any of these seasoning combinations, and add vinegar or lemon juice, olive oil and simply whisk and toss! Depending on what you are marinating will determine how long to marinade. Meat generally needs to sit for at least an hour where fish and veggies may only need 15 to 30 minutes.
- Even on a clean grill, lean foods may stick when placed directly on the rack. Prior to firing up your grill, reduce sticking by oiling the grill rack with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel. Hold it with tongs and rub over the rack.
- Combine ground meat with cooked whole grains to create a burger that’s moist, flavorful, and has fiber with less saturated fat.
- Or for a “better” burger, try ground turkey or vegetable burgers as an alternative to ground meat. A 99% fat free ground turkey breast mixed with vegetables, such as green peppers, red onion and mushrooms, helps keep the burger moist plus adds more volume to make a pound of meat go further.
- Boost your intake of heart healthy Omega 3 fatty acids by trying tuna steaks. Marinate in olive oil, apple cider vinegar, crushed capers and crushed rosemary.
- Lean white fish like flounder, mahi mahi and tilapia are great grill choices too. Add a fruit salsa for a sweet twist or brush with olive oil, top with a few shakes of your favorite seasoning, grill and then add a twist of lemon juice.
- Instead of placing salmon on the grill, use cedar planks to enhance the flavor. Soak the planks in water, cider or wine or one to two hours before grilling and arrange planks on the grill in a single layer so they are in contact with the grill grates. Allow a little space on the sides for heat and air flow. Season the salmon and lay it skin side down on top of the cedar plank. Cover the grill and cook for 12-15 minutes.
- When choosing buns for your burgers, look for 100% whole grain options. Deli thins are great too – less calories and carbs!
- Save room on the grill for veggies! Summer is a great time to enjoy local produce and GIANT offers a variety of locally grown bell peppers, red onion, asparagus, squash and eggplant.
- Cut a head of romaine lettuce in half and add olive oil, salt and pepper to the cut sides. Throw on the grill face down on medium high heat for one to two minutes. Sprinkle parmesan over the lettuce or pour red wine vinegar for a simple salad.
- Don’t forget about fruits on the grill too! The heat of the grill caramelizes the natural sugars, resulting in loads of flavor without the need for added sugar. Grill pineapple or banana slices lengthwise and serve with a dollop of low-fat vanilla bean ice cream or frozen yogurt.
- Try grilling stone-fruit, like peaches, nectarines or plums on skewers or in foil and flavor with spices like cinnamon, ginger or mint.
GIANT also wants to make sure your next barbecue is a safe one by keeping food safety top of mind. When preparing your meats, marinate in the refrigerator, not on countertops or outdoors. Sauce used to marinate raw meat should be discarded and not reused as on the cooked food later.
The best way to know if meat is cooked thoroughly is to use a meat thermometer and check the temperature. Before removing from the grill, insert a meat thermometer halfway into the thickest part of the meat, making sure it does not go through to the other side. The thermometer should give a reading in about 15-20 seconds. Included below are the recommended internal temperatures that cooked meat and seafood should be to avoid harmful bacteria such as E. coli:
· Ground beef hamburgers – 160oF. Cooking ground beef until the pink is gone is not always an indicator of thorough cooking as it can still be pink inside and cooked to a safe 160oF. Color is not always a true indicator.
· Ground and whole poultry - 165oF
· Chops, steaks and roasts from beef, veal or lamb - 145oF for medium rare, 160oF for medium and 170oF for well done
· Pork chops and roast - 150oF
· Fin fish - 145oF
· Shrimp, lobster and crabs – Cooked until the flesh is pearly and opaque
Refrigerate any leftovers promptly after serving and within two hours after cooking. Food should only be outside one hour when the temperature is above 90oF. When in doubt, throw it out.
For additional grilling and food safety tips, stop into your local GIANT to speak with a meat department associate or visit www.giantfoodstores.com.