Grill your Way to the Perfect Summer with These Tips and Tricks
Summer is full of warm, lazy days perfect for outdoor cookouts, grilled food, refreshing drinks and summer activities made to enjoy with friends and family.
The quintessential summer evening usually means a hearty grill session with friends and family to keep you company with the warm sun by your side.
Find your inner grill master
Most people don’t know this, but grilling is the healthiest way to prepare most foods. It can enhance the flavor of meats, poultry, fish and even vegetables. Delicious and healthy marinades are also a good option for an added flavor boost.
Before we get to the good stuff, it’s important to go over proper meat temperatures and general safety precautions
Here are some general safety precautions to be aware of. Make sure your meat is cooked all the way through to avoid food-borne illnesses. Also, make sure you keep a clean, hygienic work space. A clean work space offers less room for silly mistakes. And always use a thermometer to gauge the temperature of your meat. Place it in the center or the thickest part of the cut for the most accurate reading.
Proper meat temperatures:
- Rare- 140’
- Medium-rare- 145’
- Medium- 160’
- Well-done- 170’
- Ground- 160’
- Whole cuts- 145’
- Ground- 160’
- White meat- 160’
- Dark meat- 180’
- Ground- 165’
- All fish and seafood- 145’
Now we get to the good stuff: Marinades
Marinades are usually a mix of liquid ingredients—fruit or vegetable juices, wine, water or oil—combined with seasonings and/or herbs. The meat's job is to soak in the marinade, locking in all of the delicious flavors.
Marinating helps keep the meat moist and also reduces the potential for charring.
Store bought marinades can be high in sodium, sugar and fat. So, making your own marinade is generally a better idea. That way you know exactly what you are putting into your body.
Keep in mind that beef should marinate for 5 hours or overnight and pork, fish and chicken only need 15 minutes to 2 hours to steep before the juicy flavors are locked inside.
When you’re picking out your veggies, make sure they’re firm and ripe before you start grilling away. Cut them into large pieces and place them onto skewers. Baste lightly with a vegetable oil spray and season with herbs, soy sauce, wine or flavored vinegars. Some salt and pepper also does the trick. Grill them until they’re hot, tender and slightly golden brown. Bell peppers, onions, eggplant, cabbage, tomatoes, summer squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes are all delicious, grill friendly options.
Fruit is also amazing on the grill. Have you ever tried grilled peaches? Make sure your fruit is also ripe and firm before you fire up the grill. Spray the fruit with vegetable oil; and for a savory hint of flavor, sprinkle them with brown sugar, cinnamon or ginger. Like the vegetables, grill them until they are slightly brown. Apples, apricots, figs, peaches and pears are all excellent choices.
- Try a pomegranate juice, olive oil, oregano, sea salt and mustard marinade!
- Or try balsamic vinegar marinades with extra virgin olive oil and shallots.
- You can also try these mouthwatering options.
Here are some tips to sneak in more fruits and vegetables
Pureeing them and slipping them into sauces is a really simple way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your summer grilling ritual.
Try veggie kebabs or grilled flatbreads loaded with tons of vegetables.
Also try relish! A nectarine relish with grilled nectarines, pine nuts, onions, honey and balsamic is amazing.
Or you could puree some steamed cauliflower, zucchini, and carrots and add it to BBQ sauce for a sweet, delicious, low calorie and low sodium option.
Summer salad suggestions
Try saying that five times fast.
The best part about summer salads is that they can be really fun and creative. Fruits and random flavors show off your creativity so don’t be afraid to experiment on your own.
A good salad doesn’t have to have a plethora of ingredients to be good. Try a salad with watermelons, heirloom tomatoes and feta cheese.
Grilled corn, shrimp and asparagus also make for a delicious summer salad.
So do mangoes, apples, mandarins and strawberries too!
Healthy grilling recipes to go with your summer salads
Everyone loves chicken tenders, right? These Grilled Chicken Tenders with Cilantro Pesto are delicious AND healthy. Weighing in at only 168 calories per serving and 299 mg of sodium, these tasty treats won’t increase your waistline either.
If you haven’t had Grilled Mahi-mahi, you’re missing out. At only 189 calories and 444 mg of sodium per serving, this Grilled Mahi-Mahi Asparagus with Lemon Butter will make your taste buds explode.
Pork Chops are an American classic and these Pork Chops with Quick Rhubarb Sauce are no exception. With slightly more calories (303 per serving) than the last couple of recipes, this entrée is worth it.
Refreshing summer beverages
Here are some healthy summer beverage options:
- Try watermelon chunks with lime juice and ice cubes for a healthy and refreshing summer slush.
- Seltzer water with fresh squeezed lemon or lime and a drop of honey or agave.
- This blueberry cucumber smoothie.
- Or you can infuse water with cucumber, basil and watermelon. Let it sit out all day and then pour over nice.
What if I don’t have time to grill?
Finding the time to cook—or grill—can be tough if you’re constantly on-the-go.
If you’re looking for something fast and convenient without the hassle of frequenting the grocery store, bistroMD offers diet plans that can help you successfully lose weight by eating real, delicious food.
All of our proteins are either grilled, baked, steamed or seared and we have roughly 28 grilled entrees for you to enjoy. Take our Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic Veloute Sauce, for example.
We cook with the freshest ingredients and have over 200 recipes and a customizable menu so you should have no problem finding something to satisfy your taste buds.
Every bite you take follows this proven approach for healthy weight loss. Our program provides 1,100-1,400 calories daily with 40-50% total caloric intake from lean, adequate protein, 20-25% of calories from healthy fats, and 30-35% from complex carbohydrates.
It only takes a few weeks to start seeing results. You don’t have anything to lose, but the fat!
We have a men and a women’s program with the option to receive five-or-seven-days’ worth of healthy meals delivered to your door.
The two programs range from $130-$160 and EATS, our essential and tasty snacks are just $1.50 per snack. Women receive two snacks per day and men receive three snacks per day.