One of our favorite things about spring and summer is that it finally gives us a chance to get outside and fire up the grill and cook up some delicious food for friends and family. Whether you cook on a gas or charcoal grill, there is just something about the open flames that gives your meat and vegetables that little bit of char and big, big flavors.
Of course grilling isn’t always the healthiest cooking method, especially when grilling favorites usually include beef, pork, sausage, ribs, hot dogs, and other meats that, while delicious, aren’t necessarily the healthiest!
But, just because grilling isn’t traditionally the healthiest way to cook, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to enjoy it, especially when the weather is so nice. There are a surprising number of ways you can make your next barbecue or cookout both delicious and healthy. Here are some tips you can try for yourself.
Always start with a clean grill
A great cookout always starts with a clean grill! Keep a wire brush handy to give your grill a good scrubbing before you start cooking. This helps reduce the amount of charred fat, grease, and dirt that may have accumulated on your grill from the last time you used it from transferring onto your next meal. Not only will this keep your food clean and healthy but it will help it taste better too.
Always include a healthy option
Those burgers, hot dogs, and ribs we talked about before are grilling staples, but don’t forget that there are plenty of healthy options out there too that are perfect inclusions for the menu. Grilling up corn, peppers, zucchini, and other veggies are an excellent choice for your side dishes. And as for the main course there is no shortage of options too. Thick portobello mushrooms are a great vegetarian option for burgers or open-faced sandwiches.
Of course, we would also be remiss if we didn’t mention delicious bean burgers as a healthy burger option too. With all the different varieties of beans available and the interesting possibilities for preparing and serving them, veggie burgers are a wonderful addition to any cookout for those looking for a healthy option.
Marinades are a healthier flavor incorporation option
Are you surprised to learn that marinating your meat before it goes on the grill is a way to make your cookout cuisine healthier? It’s true. Marinating your chicken, pork, fish, and even beef with various combinations of herbs, spices, vinegar, and oils allows these rich flavors soak into your protein to heighten their flavor profile once they start cooking. This eliminates the need for trying to boost flavors in other less healthy ways like adding high amounts of salt. Marinades have also been found to help limit the amount of unhealthy carcinogens that can form on the grill from contacting your protein.
Use leaner meats and remove skins
Part of the reason traditional grilling food is oftentimes unhealthy is because of their high fat content. However, there are healthy ways you can still enjoy the steaks, burgers, chicken, and more that you normally love to grill with. Check your butch or meat asile at the grocery store for leaner cuts of meat or take a little bit of time before you start preparing to grill to trim some of the fat off particular fatty cuts. For chicken, a lot of fat is stored in the skin. When you grill with chicken, be sure to buy skinless chicken or trim the skin off yourself to cut down on their fat content.
When it comes to grilling healthy, the ultimate answer is including delicious bean burgers on your cookout roster! Even if you don’t normally go for veggie burgers, you will be surprised at how simple to make, delicious, and crowd-pleasing they can be at any barbecue. Grab our free cookbook full of bean burger recipes below to find out for yourself.