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5 Must-Know Grilling Tips for Healthy Summer Cookouts and Parties

Close up of a hamburger with the top bread tilted to one side to show lettuce, tomato, grilled patty and fresh onion slices.

Summer is the season for cooking outside and enjoying fun times with friends and family. It can be tempting to go overboard on the junk food at these outdoor events, but you can serve delicious food and still stay on top of your healthy eating goals. Remember that some health insurance plans reward you for good behavior like maintaining a healthy weight or lowering your cholesterol, so keep your eye on the prize. Try these tips for grilling up food that’s both delicious and nutritious.

Tips for Grilling Meat

For most people, meat is the star of the show when it comes to cooking on the grill. Here’s how you can make some healthier choices for the carnivores in your life:

•    Choose Lean Ground Beef: Hot dogs and hamburgers are summertime classics, but they’re not always the most healthy choice. Hot dogs are loaded with fat and salt, and you may be tempted to eat too many because they’re on the small side. Hamburgers made with very lean ground beef are a better choice.

•    Try Grilling Chicken Breasts: An even healthier choice than red meat is chicken — the breasts are especially lean. The trick to grilling chicken is to keep the heat lower on a gas grill so you don’t dry it out. If you’re using charcoal, move the coals to one side and keep your chicken on the coolest part of the grill. Make sure there’s no pink left inside before serving.

•    Grill Some Seafood: Another heart-healthy choice is fish or shrimp. You can wrap white fish in aluminum foil to protect it over the fire or keep a thick salmon filet off to the side for low heat. Shrimp works well on skewers to keep them from falling through the grates. Seafood cooks up quickly, so keep an eye on your work!

Tips for Grilling Vegetables

Don’t forget that you can grill veggies, too! Even if you’re not a vegetarian, flame-cooked vegetables have such a spectacular flavor that your guests won’t even notice that you served them something healthy. Here’s how to make the most of cooking vegetables on the grill this summer:

•    Use Simple Seasoning: Grilling brings out the complex flavors of vegetables, so you don’t need a marinade or barbecue sauce as you might with meat dishes. For vegetables, simply brush with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper before cooking.

•    Corral Your Veggies Over Low Heat: Delicate vegetables don’t need much heat or time on the grill — your goal is just to brown them a little bit. Corn, asparagus and eggplant slices can stand alone, but smaller veggies like cherry tomatoes, slices of bell pepper or potatoes will benefit from being cooked on a skewer or in a foil packet.

No matter what you choose to serve this summer, cooking on the grill lets you make some smart choices so you’ll be able to enjoy many more years of good times with friends and family. For more great ways to protect your health and take care of your family’s needs, call Freeway Insurance at 800-777-5620 for a free health insurance quote or check out their informative health care blog.

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