To Grill or Not To Grill?

Grilling! We all love the taste of a great barbecue—and it helps to know the pros and cons of grilling.   First, the potential health benefits of grilling:
• It reduces the fat you consume, because fats within the food typically melt and drip off rather than adhering to the food as they might in sautéing or even baking or broiling.
• When grilled, vegetables retain more nutritional value than when they’re boiled or fried. An extra benefit to grilling your veggies—besides the delicious flavor of course—is that you are more likely to use vegetables that are in season, so they’re more fresh, higher quality, and usually better priced!
• Grilling done right locks in moisture, reducing the likelihood that you’ll reach for sugar- or fat-rich condiments like ketchup (Did you know there can be as many grams of sugar in a serving of ketchup as there are in a chocolate chip cookie?!).
• Physical activity often accompanies grilling. Picnics aren’t usually complete without a nice stroll, tossing the Frisbee, or kicking a soccer ball around. Getting out in the fresh air and being active are always nice benefits of grilling.

So whats the downside of grilling?  The potential negative aspects to grilling: exposure to chemicals that could be created during the grilling process, which some experts consider to be cancer causing. There is good news! It’s fairly easy to make grilling healthier by following these easy steps:

  1. Make sure you aren’t just grilling meats.  Grill those veggies for protection!  Watch this helpful short video.
  2. Get to marinating! Healthy marinades are a fun and easy way to create different flavor experiences and protect your food on the grill! They also help you avoid sugar-laden barbeque sauces and ketchup. offers five simple and delicious options for flavorful entrees and sides.
  3. Use gas! While some people might be concerned about the effects of charcoal on their food, you don’t have to eschew the barbeque for the summer. Not only is gas easy to use, it can ease your mind, as well. If you can’t imagine grilling without charcoal, pick real-wood charcoal made in the US, like Trader Joe’s 100% All Natural Hardwood Briquettes are a healthy and affordable option.
  4. Be careful not to burn or char your food.  Cook it slow.  Patience is a virtue here!
  5. Precook those veggies that take longer to BBQ and are more prone to burning.  (The above video offers a smart tip on how to do that.)

So get adventurous with your grilling choices. Rather than sticking with burgers, steak, and hot dogs, choose fish or chicken and diversify your vegetable choices. Skewering veggies and grilling them as kabobs keeps them from slipping through the cracks and going down in flames! Here are a few recipes you might want to try out this season:
o Grilled Salmon with White Bean and Arugula Salad 
o Charred Corn Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
o Grilled Romaine Salad

Start the barbecue this Memorial Day, and enjoy all the delicious summertime flavor!