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Chillin' & Grillin'

Chillin' & Grillin'

Nutrition hacks for the grill


Ah, the sizzle of the grill, the fresh aroma of herbs, and the relaxed enjoyment of an outdoor feast - this is what sunny days and warm evenings are made for. But grilling can often yield high calorie and high fat meals. With our simple yet effective nutrition hacks, you can turn that grill into your ally in healthy eating. Read on to learn more.


1.     Get Saucy with Health-Driven Marinades

Before your protein even hits the grill, it's all about the marinade. Skip the bottled varieties laden with sugar and salt. Instead, opt for a heart-healthy mixture of olive oil, squeezed citrus for a tangy kick, and a generous handful of fresh herbs. The result? Moist and flavorful meats without the unnecessary extras. Plus, these natural tenderizers work wonders on lean proteins, which brings us to the next tip.


2.     Lean and Mean Protein Choices

Wave goodbye to those fatty cuts of meats and welcome leaner options like chicken breast, turkey, or the omega-rich goodness of fish. Not only are you reducing the saturated fat intake, but you’re also loading up on essential nutrients that support muscle growth and cardiovascular health. Remember, these leaner options could grill quicker, so keep an eye on them to avoid a charred disaster.


3.     Veg Out with Color

We often neglect the power of veggies at a BBQ. Turn that around by throwing a rainbow of vegetables on the grill. Bell peppers, asparagus, zucchini, and corn not only provide a fibrous, antioxidant-packed side dish but also offer a guilt-free way to fill your plate. Plus, those grill marks aren’t just for show; they add smoky flavor that’ll make you forget all about those heavy starches.


4.     Cook Smart with a Food Thermometer

Undercooked meat isn’t just a culinary misstep—it can be downright dangerous. Use a food thermometer to ensure your meats reach a safe internal temperature. This simple tool is your secret weapon in giving pathogens the cold (or rather, hot) shoulder, keeping your grill fest both delicious and diligent. Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165F.


5.     Whole Grains & Vegetable-Based Sides

While everyone loves a good potato salad, why not switch things up? Introduce whole grains like quinoa or farro to the mix, we recommend our Seven Layer Vegetable and Quinoa Salad. Bonus - It won’t leave you feeling sluggish when it’s time for a post-meal stroll or frisbee throw.


6.     Spice It Up

Expanding your seasoning repertoire does more than please the palate; it’s a health strategy. Turmeric, paprika, cumin - spices are packed with flavor and significant health benefits. Go on, sprinkle liberally, and you won’t miss the salt nor the store-bought sauce packets one bit.


7.     Grilled Fruits for a Sweet Twist

Grilled fruit is the unsung hero of a health-conscious BBQ. Grilling fruits like pineapple, watermelon and peaches, even bananas, caramelizes their natural sugars and unlocks new smoky depths of flavor while balancing savory mains.


8.     Batch Grilling

Here’s a forward-thinking hack: Grill in big batches. Store the leftovers for ready-made, healthy meals throughout your week. Meal prep has never tasted this good, and it steers you clear of those easy-to-grab yet oh-so-regrettable fast-food options. This Guardian’s Grilled Chicken with fruit salsa is one of our favorites!


It’s all about making smart swaps and choices without sacrificing the joy of a good grill session.  Happy grilling!


Published May 1, 2024

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