July is National Grilling Month!
Written by: Sarah Muniz, RD,LD
Summer is in full swing, and what better way to celebrate than by firing up the grill outside to create a tasty meal — without heating up the house!
When we think about grilling, the first thing that usually comes to mind is meat, but grilling is actually a great way to cook vegetables and even fruits! The most popular vegetable to cook is corn, followed by potatoes. Onions, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and bell peppers also make for great options to cook on the grill. It’s easy and quick, and they taste wonderful! Also, vegetables, unlike meats, do not produce detectable levels of heterocyclic amines (HCAs), the cancer-promoting compounds often present in grilled meats.
Vegetables are packed with fiber, phytonutrients and have no cholesterol, so they are a great part of any grilled summertime meal! Plus, many of these vegetables are in season during these hot summer months, so they will taste even more flavorful and be more enjoyable!
If you haven’t tried grilled fruit before, you should try it the next time you’re grilling out. Some fruits that taste great grilled include pineapple slices, peach halves, and bananas!
(Photo Credit from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/14486843718)
Here are some helpful tips before you get started on grilling your next meal:
1. Prepare ahead. Have all the food ready before you head outside.
2. Make sure you don’t run out of fuel for the grill. That’s just no fun!
3. Pre-heat your grill. Grilling is a high-heat cooking method. If pre-heating, make sure it’s at least 350 F. If not, turn it up to 500 F.
4. Keep your grill clean. Clean with a metal spatula or brush after you pre-heat and again after you finish cooking.
5. Stay attentive. You don’t want your food to char and burn while you walk away!
6. Wash your hands.
7. Don’t put cooked and raw foods on the same platter. The uncooked items could spread bacteria to your already cooked foods.
8. Keep foods cold until you are ready to place them on the grill. Leaving foods at room temperature for too long increases the chances of having bacteria grow on the food.
Enjoy and happy grilling!