The warm weather means a few things: longer days, more time outside, summer sports and barbecue. Cooking food outdoors is a great way to spend time outside, enjoy company and have a great meal. Since it’s probably been quite some time since you fired up the barbecue, we thought that this was a good time to put together a “getting back into BBQ season” primer. Here are a few things that you can do to make your BBQ season happier, healthier and more fun:
- AVOID CROSS CONTAMINATION: Cross contamination is one of the leading causes of food poisoning, especially when it comes to grilling. When bacteria from unclean utensils and surfaces or juices from uncooked meats touches food that is ready to eat, bacteria can spread. This can make you sick. To avoid cross contamination, always start with a clean grill, clean utensils and a clean cutting board. Separate cooked and uncooked foods and don’t allow them to come into contact with one another. If you use a utensil, cutting board or plate on uncooked meat, don’t use the same one for your cooked food.
- CHOOSE LEAN MEATS: You don’t need to stick to fatty, high calorie foods when you’re barbecuing. Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, fish and certain cuts of beef are great grilling choices. These foods are usually lower in calories, meaning that you won’t end up consuming way too many calories every time you barbecue. Plus, foods that are lower in saturated and especially ones that are lower in trans-fat are better for your heart and your overall health.
- INCLUDE VEGETABLES: The easiest way to include vegetables in your barbecued meal is to add items like lettuce and tomato to your burger. But you shouldn’t stop there. Many vegetables such as corn, eggplant, asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, sweet potatoes and several other vegetables taste great when they’re grilled. Try making some simple veggie kabobs by putting different chopped vegetables on a skewer and placing them on the grill for a few minutes. This is a healthy and delicious choice that can serve as a side or even the main meal. Adding vegetables to your meal is an excellent way to improve the overall health of your barbecuing experience. Doing so will also prevent you from filling up on “junk” such as chips and other snacks since you’ll be more satisfied by a more complete meal.
- MAKE YOUR OWN MARINADES: Store-bought marinades and sauces often contain a lot of sugar and calories. You should try to avoid these when possible. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice flavour with your meal. Using your own marinades and rubs ensures that you can get the flavours you’re looking for without all of the added sugar. Try various herbs, spices, oils and vinegars to give your meat and vegetables some extra flavour without adding extra calories and sugar.
- AVOID PROCESSES FOODS: It’s always better to grill food that you’ve prepared yourself rather than food that comes out of a box. Just like with store-bought marinades and sauces, other prepared foods often contain high amounts of sugar and calories as well. Processed food also means meats such as hot dogs, sausages, bacon and many other foods. Not only are these foods high in calories, but they also often contain high levels of sodium and nitrates. Too much sodium is bad for your health and can lead to a variety of different health issues including cancer and heart disease. Instead of processed foods, buy more natural cuts of meat and flavour them yourself. This will still allow you to have a meal that you enjoy without harming your health.
Need help with improving your diet? Don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.