Summer is great for cooking outdoors


Cooking outdoors on the grill is a favorite activity in the summer months. Grilling is a great way to cook and enjoy favorite foods in a new way. Quick, easy nutrition is always a plus when you can adjust a recipe to your liking.  Here’s how to build a healthy plate at your next barbecue.

To grill lean, find some new favorites such as choosing meat that has little to no fat. Try turkey burgers, skinless chicken, and lean beef or pork. Remember, using a meat thermometer when cooking meats is the best way to keep food safe. Cooking to the correct temperature lowers your risk of getting sick. It also helps prevent dried out, overcooked meats. Since it is best to eat fish twice a week, get your summertime Omega-3 fatty acids by grilling up salmon, cod, or tilapia. 

 For those who don’t eat meat, try grilling tofu or bean burgers.

Next, let’s think about adding fruits and vegetables. Adding colorful  fruits and vegetables add a variety of vitamins and minerals everyone needs in their diet. Grilling vegetables include zucchini, squash, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, onions, and corn. Also try cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, and tomatoes. Apples, peaches, and pineapple make a great addition to your plate as well.

When slicing fruits and veggies, try to make them the same thickness. This way they will cook at the same rate. Drizzle veggies with oil before placing them on the grill. They can also be seasoned with fresh herbs or a little salt and pepper. Use tin foil or place food directly on the grill grate. Cook until tender. One other tip is to marinate portabella mushrooms and grill whole. They make a tasty plant-based “burger” or side item. For a quick side salad, add a crisp, green salad and make it ahead of time with seasonal produce.

What is a great summer meal without dessert?  

Try something new by grilling watermelon for a new treat. Simply grill each side for 30 seconds and enjoy!  If that isn’t to your liking, use low heat, grill fruit kabobs, sliced pineapple, or peaches. The warm sweetness will make this your new, favorite summertime treat!