Summer is in full effect and if you haven't started using your outdoor grill yet here are some great reasons to!
Did you know that grilling vegetables helps them retain more of their vitamins and minerals. Try using produce as a main dish instead of protein, but if that's too much for you make sure you add them as a side.
Eat foods that are in season!
When you eat foods that are in season, meaning they are at their peak in terms of harvest and flavor, they tend to be fresher, taste better and offer more nutrition. If possible try to find a local farm or grower to cut down on transport time for the produce.
Common seasonal options for Summer Grillin'
- Bell Peppers
- Summer Squash
Healthy recipes for Summer Grillin'
Zucchini is a summer squash and contains vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A and C, folate and potassium. Grilling zucchini is easy. It doesn't take a lot to make it taste great which helps to get these health benefits!
To get the perfect grilled zucchini, make sure you cut it into uniform strips so that it grills evenly. Season your zucchini with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasonings before tossing it on a medium-high grill (400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit). Cook on both sides for two to three minutes. You can enjoy grilled zucchini on its own as a main dish, or as a side with chicken, pork or fish.
Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family. Bell peppers, potatoes and tomatoes are nightshade family members as well. All of them are high in vitamin A and potassium, and has just 25 calories per serving.
To grill eggplant, cut it into slices. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 15 minutes; then pat dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Toss the eggplant with a garlic and herb oil, and throw it on the grill on medium-high heat until the slices are tender and slightly charred (about two to three minutes per side).
For Mediterranean-style eggplant, top with feta, parsley and lemon juice, and pair with a tahini dressing.
Cucumbers are high in vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Cucumbers don't need a lot of prep work just cut the cucumbers into spears and toss with enough oil to coat the outside. Add a pinch of salt and grill over medium heat for two to three minutes on both sides until they have a little char. Eat them just the way they come off the grill, or cut them up and add them to a salad.
Grilled chicken, fish or pork
Season your protein to your liking and preheat the grill on high for 10 to 15 mins. Medium to large chicken breasts should be grilled over medium heat for about 10 mins. until the internal temperature hits 165 degrees Fahrenheit, turn them at the halfway point.
For fish, grill 8 to 10 minutes after bringing fish to room temp. to reduce fishy flavor dunk your fish in milk for a few minutes before grilling and seasoning. Cook fish until the internal temp. reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
For pork, chops grill about 4 to 6 minutes per side and also cook until the internal temp. reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let your proteins rest for 3 or 5 minutes before serving so the fibers of the meat can absorb the juices, helping to keep the meat tender. Serve with a vegetable side from above and enjoy!
Be sure not to overcook your meats to the point of charred outsides. When you cook meat at too high of a temperature, too quickly, it creates glycotoxins that can cause much inflammation throughout the body increasing your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Clean the grill surface before cooking. If using a scouring pad or wire brush, check its surface for loose material or bristles to avoid them getting in your food. Also avoid cross contamination by using clean utensils, plates and thermometers between different types of meats.