With Father’s Day, Fourth of July, graduations, picnics, camping, family reunions and other summer events coming up, opportunities for cookouts are abundant! Grilling is a great way to add flavor to all types of food – let’s take a look at some tips and tricks to make barbecues safe, healthy, and delicious!

Safety Tips

· Before cooking: Clean your grill by scrubbing it with hot, soapy water. When you’re ready to cook, let the grill heat up before adding food so any bacteria present will be killed by the heat.

· Want to make sure your raw foods are safe to eat? The color of meat, poultry, and fish is NOT a reliable way to test the doneness. A food thermometer is the only way to ensure food is safely cooked!

· Use separate plates and utensils for raw foods and cooked/ready-to-eat foods. Anything that touches raw food can contaminate other food and surfaces, potentially leading to food poisoning – not a great way to celebrate your event!

Ingredient Ideas

· Go lean by grilling up Portobello or turkey burgers – turkey can be as lean as 99 percent fat-free.

· To amp up the flavor and spice, try adding cilantro, shallots or chili sauce; or try mixing in feta cheese, kalamata olives, oregano, pepper and serve on a pita for a Greek-style burger.

· Grilled veggies taste amazing AND offer great nutrition. Try coating your favorite veggies with a bit of oil and your favorite spices and grill until tender and brown – some great varieties to try include red peppers, corn, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions.

· For dessert, grill fruit kabobs, pineapple slices or peach halves on low heat until the fruit is hot and slightly golden for a tasty and nutritious dessert. Grill watermelon for 30 seconds on each side to bring out unique flavors. Grilled fruit is great alone or on top of ice cream, frozen yogurt, or angel food cake.

For some more amazing (and healthy!) grilling ideas, click HERE.

– By Morgan McManimon-Myers, Bachelor of Science in Community-Medical Dietetics