Bring on BBQ Season!

Bring on BBQ season! Okay, so it’s been BBQ season for a while, but I haven’t had a chance to blog about it yet.

Did you know that July is National Grilling Month? This is one of my favorite times of the year (mainly because it’s one of the only times my husband cooks meals). I also love cooking outside and trying new recipes on the barbecue.

Barbecue does not always have to mean hamburgers and hot dogs. So many foods can be cooked on the barbecue, and not all of them have to be meat. Barbecuing can be a healthy cooking option…with the right foods.

Here are some new ideas to try this summer:

Dessert: There are plenty of fruit that can be cooked up on the barbecue. Have you ever tried any? If not, this summer try grilling apples slices, bananas, peaches, pears, pineapple rings or plums. After grilling, you can sprinkle some brown sugar or cinnamon on them or add some low fat yogurt to taste.

Kabobs: Kabobs are fun to eat, especially for kids. They can be made with or without meat and can be customized to your taste. For protein, you can use beef, chicken, pork or tofu. For vegetables, you can use bell peppers, mushrooms, squash, tomatoes or zucchini. This may be a new way of introducing vegetables to your picky eaters.

Meat: When choosing meat, look for leaner cuts, without skin. Look for lean cuts of steak, roasts, chicken breasts, legs or thighs, pork chops or tenderloin or make homemade versions of hamburgers, chicken or turkey burgers. Fish and shellfish can also be grilled, and help you meet the Food Guide’s recommendation of eating two servings of fish weekly. Season your meat, poultry or fish with herbs and spices, and limit the amount of high-calorie marinades and sauces used.

Sides: Have fun and be creative with side dishes. Potatoes (russet or sweet) can be grilled in aluminum foil on the barbecue. You can make foil packets for the barbecue with one or more of these vegetables: asparagus, bell peppers, carrots, corn, mushrooms, onions, spinach, squash, potatoes (sliced), tomatoes or zucchini. Add herbs, spices and a little margarine or oil. Corn on the cob also tastes great grilled.

Try adding your favorite (or new) salad and/or whole grain breads or buns to make your heathy grilled meal complete.

Do you have a great grill recipe that you can’t wait to make each season? If so, share it with me at [email protected]. Maybe I’ll feature it in a future blog this summer.

If you have any nutrition topics you would like me to write about or have a question you would like answered, email me at [email protected]. I would really like to hear from you!