Summer BBQ made better

When it comes to grilling, most people automatically think about different cuts of meat. But instead of going with the predictable burgers, hot dogs or steaks consider trying a super flavorful alternative. Marinated fresh pork is a great source of heart-healthy lean protein and aside from being a super flavorful choice, it also provides other benefits when grilling. Concerns about carcinogens often arise when grilling meat, but using a marinade reduces that number by half. Another benefit is that it comes pre-seasoned and ready to go with no artificial ingredients. And if time is an issue, slice it or cube it for kebabs with shorter grilling time for a convenient last minute addition to your backyard BBQ.

But grilled meat alone, does not a BBQ make, so don’t neglect the rest of the menu. Whether you go for grilled veggies, grilled salad, or you prefer fresh veggies and cold, crisp salad, plan at least 2 to 3 fresh produce options. Take advantage of seasonal local produce to pull together fast, healthful dishes such as grilled avocados filled with pico de gallo or salsa for a hand-held salad. Or grill fruit and top with a scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt for a simple delicious dessert.

Lastly, don’t neglect the food-safety consideration when it comes to outdoor cooking and eating. Foodborne illness or food poisoning is much more prevalent during summer months, so it is a topic that should always be on your radar. If you are doing any food prep outside the kitchen be extra careful to avoid cross-contamination between raw meats, fish, etc. and other foods. And while the goal is a relaxing outdoor meal, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to put the foods away in the fridge within 2 hours so that while the epic croquet game is in full swing, you’re not losing all your leftovers to food-borne pathogens.

Just a few intentional tweaks and your BBQ won’t just taste better, but actually be better for your health.