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

Weekly Flu Report, November 21, 2014 posted on Nov 21

This week’s flu report indicates that rates of flu-like illness remained relatively stable as compared to last week’s numbers. It’s safe to say that we’ll see these rates rise in the coming weeks and months – and with the holiday season approaching, now’s a great time   …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, November 21, 2014

The Holidays Are Fast Approaching! posted on Nov 18

The Holidays Are Fast Approaching!

The holiday season brings a lot of fun, but can be stressful at times. Try focusing on seeing things through your child’s eyes. Chances are the traditions and memories you make are what children will grow up to remember, not the gifts or fancy meals.   …Continue Reading The Holidays Are Fast Approaching!

Weekly Flu Report, November 14, 2014 posted on Nov 17

The latest weekly flu report shows an increase in the rate of flu-like illness in Massachusetts over the past seven days. This is to be expected at this time of year in New England, and it’s a great reminder that if you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, there   …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, November 14, 2014