Healthy grilling

Published in Heart & Vascular, For the Health of It Author: Diane Giambruno

It’s that time of year when we all want to spend more time outdoors. There’s nothing better than a good grilled meal on a nice summer night! Many of my patients know that grilling is a healthier cooking option than frying. However, I frequently hear comments such as, “I grill my brats because all of the fat comes out.” While grilling is a healthier option and some of the fat comes out, remember that a high-fat meat product remains a high-fat meat product even after grilling.

Below are some great tips for keeping grilling safe and healthy.

Grilling safety tips

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before, during and after food preparation. Pack moist towelettes or hand sanitizer for those moments when soap and water are not readily available.
  • Scrub your grill with hot, soapy water prior to each use.
  • Keep raw meats, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from ready-to eat foods; ditto for the utensils used to handle each.
  • Always marinate foods in the refrigerator, never at room temperature on the counter. Use a separate brush and utensils for cooked foods and set aside some fresh sauce to use on cooked food.
  • Using a food thermometer is the only safe way to determine if the food is cooked all the way. Visit homefoodsafety.org for proper heating temperatures.
  • To prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, don’t leave food outside in hot weather (90°F or above) for more than one hour.

Fill your grill with healthy options

Rather than always sticking with traditional grilled options such as hot dogs, hamburgers and sausages — which can be high in fat — mix it up with low-fat options like fish, chicken and vegetables. Grilling is a great way to bring out sweet, caramelized flavor in vegetables.