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.