Healthy Holiday BBQ's

Barbecues (also known as BBQ) are very popular during the summer because it is so easy to just throw foods on the grill and have them ready in no time at all!  Foods also taste so good coming off the grill during the summer.  Planning to have a BBQ during this holiday week, but not sure what to cook?  There are many ways to have healthy, great tasting foods to serve your guests.  Try these holiday tips when planning your BBQ this week or all summer long!
  • Cook meat and vegetables outside on the grill.  Grilled veggies taste great.  Some veggies to try on the grill are:  asparagus, zucchini, squash, bell peppers, potatoes, and corn.
  • Serve less meat and more grilled or roasted vegetables.  You will stretch your food budget and boost nutrition.
  • Marinating the meat.  Marinate meats with lemon, fresh or dried herbs, garlic, or pepper to add great flavor without adding salt.
  • A salad goes great with BBQ.  Mix a salad with fresh romaine lettuce and add your favorite veggies to make a healthy side dish.  Try adding tomatoes, corn, bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli.
  • Grill fruits, too!  Fruits taste great when they are grilled, too.  Try adding pineapple slices or peaches.  If grilling fruits aren't what you want, make sure to have other in season fruits on hand like watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, blueberries, blackberries, and peaches.
While grilling out is great for the summer, make sure to keep you foods safe during hot weather.  Keep these tips in mind when grocery shopping and grilling this summer.

  • Choose your meat at the end of your shopping trip and put in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as you get home.
  • Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • Use a meat thermometer to be sure meat has reached a safe temperature. If you are not sure what temperature your meat should be, click here for the Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature Chart.
  •  Place cooked meat on a clean platter, not the one you used for the raw meat.
  • Throw away food that has been sitting at room temperature for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if temperatures are 90 degrees or higher.

Try this healthy chicken recipe for your next BBQ.

Lemon Herb Chicken

Makes 8 servings      Serving Size:  1 piece of chicken

Marinade Ingredients:

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
1.  In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the marinade.
2.  Put chicken and marinade in a large zip top food-storage bag and seal the bag.
3.  Refrigerate bag of chicken for at least 4 hours, but not more than 24 hours before cooking.
4.  Remove chicken from bag and throw away the bag and the marinade.
5.  Heat the grill or preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6.  Grill chicken 20 to 25 minutes, turning once during cooking, or bake chicken on a baking pan in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall