Tips for Healthy Grilling Out

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN | Jun 21st 2017

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Use these tips to enjoy heart healthy grilled foods that are safe and delicious all summer long.

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Select the right protein.

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Healthier protein choices include skinless poultry, fish, lean red meat, and lean pork.

All visible fat should be trimmed prior to grilling.

Select cuts of meat that are labeled loin, round, choice or select. You may also use leaner group chicken or turkey in place of traditional red meat burgers.

Avoid prime grade beef which has more marbling (i.e. fat). Use a rack so fat drips away from food.

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Make grilled fish a regular part of your summer.

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Fish is rich in heart healthy omega-3’s.

Healthy types of fish include salmon, trout, and herring.

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Use the right seasonings and sauces.

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Marinate meats, poultry, and fish for amazing flavor, low salt flavor.

Use ~ ½ cup of marinade or a tablespoon of spice rub per pound of meat.

Use spices, such as chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, paprika, or rosemary. Avoid salty seasonings like teriyaki, barbecue, and soy sauce.

DO NOT REUSE MARINADE FROM RAW MEAT.

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Marinate to reduce carcinogens.

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Researchers at Kansas State University marinated steaks in different mixtures of herbs and spices.

The marinades reduced carcinogens up to 87 percent.

Why is not clear. The marinade may create a protective barrier between meat proteins and grill heat and/or the antioxidants in the marinade may play a role.

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Keep your grill clean.

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Scrub your grill with a brush before and after use.

Cleaning the grill reduces the buildup of carcinogens left on grill grates.

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Avoid smoked and burnt meat.

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Fat drippings can create extra smoke leading to increased carcinogens. Selecting the lean meats equals less fat, less smoke and a healthier meal.

The fast foods cook the less risk of charring. Charred meats contain more carcinogens.

Avoid cooking past goal internal temperatures of 165 degrees for poultry, 160 degrees for ground meat, and 145 degrees for steaks.

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Add veggies to the grill.

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You can grill just about any vegetable whether alone or on a kabab, asparagus, peppers, onions, potatoes, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and more.

Include them in a heart healthy marinade of herbs and spices for mouthwatering flavor. Top grilled vegetables with fresh basil or cilantro for added appeal.

Be sure to cut vegetables into pieces that cook quickly and evenly.

Use a healthy oil to prevent sticking and/or a grill basket.

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Don't forget the fruit!

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Many types of fruit make a great grill addition, such as pineapple slices, peaches, plums, and nectarines. Natural fruit sugars caramelize in the heat leaving you with great flavors… and let’s not forget all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs.

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Use whole grain buns.

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Instead of white hamburger and hot dog buns select whole grains for extra fiber, texture, and flavor.

Healthy choices include whole wheat, oats, whole rye, and buckwheat.