Healthy Summer Barbecue Ideas
The days are getting longer. The weather is getting warmer. People are enjoying each other’s company outdoors. That’s right! Barbecue season is here. Barbecuing can be a very healthy cooking method. It’s a great way to get flavor out of your food without the excess calories or fat. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Marinating your meats is a great way to start. Use bold flavors like Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, tomato paste, molasses, or low sodium soy sauce. You can also use small amounts of fruit juice or brown sugar to add a little bit of sweetness to chicken and pork, for example. A great way to marinate is by using plastic resealable bags. Make sure to remove excess air from the bag before closing it and leaving in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Always trim excess fat or remove skin before marinating your meat. This allows you to preserve flavour and cut down on calories from fat. You can use cuts like top sirloin, extra lean hamburger meat, chicken breast, and pork tenderloin. Cook over direct high or medium heat. Cooking over indirect heat takes longer, but allows for more tenderness. Remember to let meat stand covered for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Another trick to cut down on calories is to cook smaller portions. You’ll have less of a tendency to eat too much. Examples are, 4 on burgers, filet mignon, kabobs and thinly sliced roasts.
Let’s not forget about our vegetables. Marinating brings out lots of flavor, as does grilling. Marinate a variety of vegetables like corn, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, peppers and onions… the list goes on and on. The longer they marinate, the more the flavour. When time is a factor, just brush them with a little bit of olive oil, and add your favourite spices. Make sure to cut them into sizes that cook well (about ¼ inch slices). Cook for about 8-10 minutes under direct medium heat, turning them often.
Here are 2 of my favourite marinades.
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- freshly ground pepper
Marinade for meat
- 150 ml red wine
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 dried bay leaf, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- freshly ground black pepper
Have a great barbecue season!
By Christina Timotheatos dt.p.