cookout grill

(© Joshua Resnick –

Cooking outdoors on the grill brings a wave of healthy appetite for most of us. It’s difficult to keep track of our calories and stick to the health goals while the smoky aromas are drifting all around.

Thank god, grilling is inherently a healthy cooking style. If you don’t have a grilling station you can get one for your outdoor kitchen from BBQGuys.

It is possible to keep those mounting daily calories in check, just by following a few tips for healthy cooking.

1. Marinate for health

A key to lip-smacking grilled dishes is the liberal rub of spices and flavors. You can infuse beautiful flavors with healthy marinades like lime juice, vinegar, wine, soy sauce, garlic and herbs.

Marinades are known to reduce the formation of cancer causing compounds by about 92-99%, and that’s the right way to healthy grilling. Ideally you should be marinating the vegetables for at least an hour for the best results.

You should also make a healthy choice with marinades. Instead of choosing packaged marinades, look for recipes that give you options for low-fat vegetable oil based marinade.

3. Embrace lean plant-protein

Plant-based proteins are a low-calorie healthier option that you can choose over animal protein. Animal protein comes with health risks and has been linked to increased risk of stroke and heart diseases. It’s a smart choice to choose the lean plant protein for lower risk of cancer, hypertension and obesity. You’ll get more nutrients, fiber and antioxidants to boost your overall health.

Choose chickpeas and black beans for making the patties in grilled burgers. Grilled tofu and tempeh skewers are excellent choices too.

3. Rainbow of nutrients

Adding a rainbow of colors through fruits and vegetables is a fantastic way to broaden the range of nutrients. You can use grilled vegetables and fruits as salads or as side accompaniment to the main dish. Smoked vegetables taste heavenly if cooked to the right temperature.

Make sure that the vegetables are brushed with olive oil or any other healthy vegetable oil before you place them in the grilling basket. This will prevent them from getting stuck and burnt at the base. Cutting the veggies evenly will also ensure that they are cooked quickly and uniformly.

4. Use fat consciously

Always make a conscious choice about the cooking oil for your dishes. When it comes to grilling you need to be extra conscious with the oil. At high heat, oils can oxidize and become rancid. Opt for healthy oils that are resistant to oxidation and rancidification.

Olive oil and coconut oil are options which are rich in healthy unsaturated fats. Opting for these oils while grilling can have positive effects on your cholesterol levels and heart health.

5. Grilled fruits for desserts

Desserts often carry the highest calorie in our meals. Unfortunately, we also over-indulge in desserts and lose much of our control at the end of the meal. A good idea to curb the calories coming in from desserts is to get the focus on fruits.

When fruits are grilled and cooked at high temperature, their natural sugars begin to caramelize. This boost of sweetness coupled with the smoky flavors can become a recipe for some delicious desserts. The best part is, you can have the grilled dessert to your heart’s content without feeling guilty about the calories.

6. Opt for healthy dressings and seasoning

Too much salt and sugar in food can increase your risk for hypertension and diabetes. Don’t get carried away and limit the use of salt and sugar while grilling. A lot of times we don’t realize but we end up favoring a lot of salty spices and sweet condiments when we are barbecuing. Packaged seasonings and condiments are especially high in salt and sugar, and can lead to overindulgence too.

Go for homemade condiments with reasonable salt and sugar, for a healthier take at your grilled recipes.

Story by Gary Horner


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