Grills will be firing up in neighborhoods around the Greater Tampa Bay Area this Memorial Day weekend to kick-off the summer.  Cookouts and backyard barbeques are a summer tradition for many of us, but a modern take on meal planning can help health-conscious people have a healthy cookout. Avoid the excess calories and high-fat content typically associated with burgers, hot dogs, and mayo-based salads.  Here are flavorful and nutritious ideas for your next outdoor event.

10 Simple Tips for Summer Grill Season

  • Always start with a clean grill for the healthiest results.  Simply search the web for grill-cleaning tips to avoid bacterial issues and to prevent grease build-up.
  • Choose lean proteins and grill-worthy meats like skinless chicken, turkey, eye of round roast, sirloin, or pork tenderloin.
  • For heart health, consider flame grilling tofu or another meat-alternative. Jazz up the flavor with a tangy barbeque sauce or a citrus glaze.
  • Add some surf to your turf by grilling seafood like salmon, swordfish, seabass, tuna, grouper, mahi-mahi, or snapper.
  • Make your meal more nutritious with the addition of grilled vegetables like asparagus, eggplant, radicchio, or zucchini. Grilled potatoes are also a great alternative to chips or potato salads.
  • Sweeten the menu with a skewer or a grill basket of fruits like watermelon, pineapple, mango, or apples.  Grilled fruit could serve as a side dish or a dessert item.
  • Strictly follow recipe instructions when grilling.  Char-grilling certain foods at extremely high temperatures have been linked to carcinogens.
  • Allow the fat to drip off the meat during your grilling process.  In addition, trim any noticeable fat off the meat with a knife after grilling is complete to reduce calories and fat content.
  • Choose a light marinade, honey glaze, or a dusting of exotic herbs rather than high-calorie condiments or sauces.
  • Choose spinach, kale, or arugula instead of traditional iceberg lettuce if you would like to add extra vitamins and minerals to your grilled sandwiches and burgers.

With these nutritional swaps and savory tricks, your Florida family and friends will be raving about your healthy cookout skills all summer long.

 

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