Bring on the Heat! Tips for Healthy Summer Cookouts

Posted on Jun 25th 2020 by Florida Blue

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Summertime and grilling are synonymous with summertime memories, celebrated with family and friends. Nothing stirs up nostalgia quite as efficiently as a barbecue, they are a great way to enjoy time with your family in the backyard or at a local park. But safety is paramount when enjoying the grill, so here are some tips to have a healthy and safe cookout.

Remember that social distancing is still in place, be sure to follow local orders for enjoying parks and outdoor spaces. Maintain 6ft between yourself and anyone not residing in your home with you.

  • Before you set flame to the grill, make sure it’s clean. If it is still dirty from your last cookout, scrub the grates with hot soapy water. After it is clean, heat up the grates before cooking your food.
  • Choose lean meats, like poultry and local sustainably sourced seafood. If you're opting for beef, trim some the fat before you place items on the grill. Removing excess fat will help avoid fire from flaring ups during cooking.
  • Be inspired by all the food groups! The grill isn’t just used for meat; add some of your family's favorite vegetables, try some seasoned zucchini, squash, portobello mushrooms, onions, or bell peppers. Even fruit can go on the grill!  Assemble some skewers with chunks of pineapple, peaches and watermelon. Fruit can be a tasty addition to your meal or enjoyed as a wholesome dessert. Cook the fruit on low heat for best results.
  • Marinades add a boost of flavor, and can also prevent your meats from charring. Charring is when the temperature gets too high causing the meat to blacken and burn, forming carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). Studies by the USDA show a link between charring and cancer. Choose a marinade with canola oil and citrus juice to tenderize the meat. Marinades with garlic and onion also help to reduce carcinogens.

Lastly, use a meat thermometer to make sure the meat is cooked to proper temperature and safe to eat.

Now get outside and light up that barbecue!

Filed under: Healthy Living  

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