What is in this article?:
- Think outside the box for better-for-you barbecue
- See more tips
With summer grilling season around the corner, and more of your customers thinking about health when they dine out, we're sharing some tips from chef Renee Zonka.
Grain side dishes round out a healthy barbecue menu.
Are barbecue and healthy dining mutually exclusive? Renee Zonka, dean and resident nutrition expert at Chicago’s Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, doesn't think so. Here are her tips for creating satisfying and better-for-you options during barbecue season.
1. Buy local. Produce grown nearby is at the peak of flavor and nutrition.
2. Trim the fat, and skin the bird. For burgers, try ground sirloin, which contains less saturated fat than 80/20 (20% fat) ground beef. Choose leaner steaks like top sirloin for grilling, and for fattier steaks such as Porterhouse, trim all visible fat. Do the same for whole-loin pork chops. (Pork tenderloin is naturally leaner.) And skin chicken and duck breasts, thighs and legs before marinating and tossing on the grill to lock that just-grilled flavor into the meat.
3. Go fish. Any seafood simply tastes better grilled! Oily finfish like cod and salmon fillets are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Tilapia is not only a sustainable species, but naturally lean, and can accept virtually any flavor from a marinade or rub before grilling. Heartier fish fillets can go right onto an oiled grill, and more delicate fish can rest on aluminum foil or even sturdy lettuce or banana leaves. With any lean fish, watch grilling times, as less-fatty species cook quickly. And shellfish such as oysters and scallops can grill right in their shells.
4. Grill veggies. From asparagus to zucchini, grilling coaxes out vegetables’ natural sugars. Marinate for an hour in the refrigerator first or brush fresh veggies (including sliced onion, husked corn on the cob, eggplant slices, sliced bell pepper, sliced yellow squash and mushroom caps—and even sturdy long-leaf lettuces like romaine and endive) with olive oil on both sides. Experiment with grill times, turning once for those beautiful caramelized grill marks, until done.