There are few things that say Iowa summer like a hot grill of sizzlin’ summertime eats. We all know the basics of a healthy barbecue: choose lean meats, avoid mayo-based sides, and yes, liquid calories do count. To make the most out of your grilling time, and get a hot, healthy meal on the table in minutes, follow the tips below to grill without guilt.
Watch your portion sizes.
Once you’ve picked the perfect protein, make sure you watching the portion size. When choosing fresh meat, fish or poultry, aim for a 3 ounce (cooked) serving size; that’s about the size of your palm or a deck of cards. To make it simple, just remember that one pound of raw meat, fish or poultry should feed four people one serving each. Not only does this help save calories, it’s a great money saver! Keep in mind, that’s for one serving – you know your audience best!
Always take the temperature.
Food thermometers have come a long way – many will give you the recommended cooking temperatures right on the thermometer. While we recommend using a thermometer to make sure you’re cooking beef, pork, and poultry to the minimum internal temperature, it’s also a perfect way to grill the perfect steak or chop every time. Ground products should reach 160⁰F; poultry 165⁰F; medium rare beef and pork 145⁰F.
Let it rest.
After you remove food from the grill, let it rest for a few minutes. Grilling and flipping meat causes the juices to move and focus towards the middle. By giving steaks, chops and chicken a chance to rest before slicing, the juices can migrate throughout the meat, so the flavor ends up on your fork, not your cutting board. Allow at least three minutes for steaks and chops – longer for larger cuts.
Think beyond the burger, too.
Some unexpected foods like peaches, asparagus, or pineapple can be tossed on the grill for a tasty, nutrient-rich side dish. Aside from being packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, grilling fruits and vegetables takes almost no time at all – all you really need to do is add char marks. If you’re new to grilling produce, start simple. A little nonstick spray paired with the natural grill flavor goes a long way.