Post Content

Terri_Mendoza photo

Posted By:

Terri Mendoza, Nutrition Education Specialist for the WIC Program

 

It’s almost Fourth of July, one of my favorite holidays.  While the parades are fun, I’ll have to admit it’s the combination of outdoor BBQs and fireworks that makes me look forward to this day every year.

Growing up, July 4th meant hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, with lots of mayo-rich potato or macaroni salad and coleslaw on the side.  But these days, I’m much more likely to serve healthier options, like grilled chicken, fish, and veggies, with lots of fresh salads made with fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. 

Here are some tips for healthy grilling I’ve learned along the way:Shutterstock_95044417[1]

  • Avoid high-fat, high-sugar, or high-sodium sauces.  Instead, blend olive oil with lemon or lime juice and your favorite herbs for a healthier marinade. 
  • Look for lower-fat, lower-sodium, nitrate-free turkey dogs.
  • Try veggie or turkey burgers instead of beef (add mashed beans or sautéed mushrooms or onions to the ground turkey for moister burgers).
  • Enjoy whole grain buns and rolls for extra fiber.
  • Use low-fat mayonnaise or plain yogurt, or olive oil and vinegar, in your side salads.

To make sure my friends and family enjoy my culinary adventures, I follow the basic steps to keeping food safe:

  • I make sure to CLEAN everything before cooking.
  • I keep raw meat, poultry and fish SEPARATE from all other foods, and I make sure to use a clean platter for the cooked meat—not the same one I used for raw foods.
  • I use a meat thermometer to make sure the food is COOKED to the right temperature.  Check out this handy guide for more details: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Keep_Food_Safe_Food_Safety_Basics/index.asp.
  • I keep hot foods HOT and cold foods COLD!

I also pay attention to how I grill, since some studies suggest that when meat, poultry and fish are cooked by extreme heat, cancer-causing substances can be produced.  To reduce the risk, try these suggestions when grilling meat, chicken or fish:

  • Microwave the foods—even for just 60 to 90 seconds—to partially cook them before grilling, and throw out the liquid.
  • Marinate the food before grilling.
  • Grill small portions of lean cuts and trim the fat as much as possible before cooking.
  • Don’t eat charred parts.

 More detailed information about safe grilling can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Food_Safety_Education/Grill_It_Safe/index.asp and http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/news/Features/a-backyard-chefs-guide-to-healthy-grilling

 So, enjoy your lazy days of summer—and your grill.  See you at the fireworks!

 

Written By:

Recent Posts

Making Your Summer POP! posted on Jul 19

Making Your Summer POP!

Few things are better than an ice-cold popsicle on a hot summer day!  I have vivid memories from my childhood running around through the sprinkler and various neighbors’ yards enjoying the summer sun.  At that age, having a messy red ring around your mouth from   …Continue Reading Making Your Summer POP!

Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces posted on Jul 18

Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces

Wellness programs are good for business. They can lead to better performing workers, lower absenteeism and decreased healthcare and insurance costs. Now, small businesses can be rewarded for these efforts! The Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit Incentive gives small businesses in Massachusetts a state tax credit   …Continue Reading Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces

Climate and Health: We Track That! posted on Jul 15

Climate and Health: We Track That!

Extreme heat events are one of the most common causes of weather-related deaths in the United States – and the number of heat-related deaths is rising. More frequent and severe heat waves are likely to occur as climate change continues to change weather patterns. These   …Continue Reading Climate and Health: We Track That!