Build a Healthy Plate this Summer

For those grilling this summer, a juicy steak with a side of potatoes might sound like the perfect meal but before taking a bite, you might want to look at the numbers.

One-half pound of New York Strip steak garnished with roasted potatoes and a pat of butter contains one day’s worth of protein (50 grams) and 60 percent of the daily value for saturated fat (12 grams).

Make healthy choices and enjoy the foods you love by following these simple tips to build a healthy plate this summer:

1. Grill leaner red meat. Ground bison, has fewer calories and half the saturated fat of 90 percent lean ground beef. Cook carefully to keep these extra-lean burgers juicy. Another smart option is flank steak because it has 30 percent less saturated fat than top sirloin. For best results, cook flank steak quickly over high heat, let it rest and slice thinly against the grain.

Cook’s tips: Handle ground meat gently to avoid dense, tough burgers. Score flank steak lightly so it lays flat on the grill.

2. Try grilling fish. Toss shrimp in a grill basket with vegetables for a tasty taco filling or satisfying stir fry. Salmon is another smart choice because it is packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and holds its shape when grilled unlike most white fish. 

Cook’s tip: Set your grill to low heat, place salmon filets on cedar planks and close the lid to infuse them with flavor.

3. Choose a smaller portion of lean meat and surround it with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Kebabs make it easy to serve a balanced meal because they can be assembled in advance and take just minutes to cook. Try tossing cubed skinless chicken thighs with bold spices, and then thread them onto skewers alternately with your choice of fruits and vegetables such as: pineapple chunks, red onion and mushrooms.

Cooks tip: Don’t forget to season/marinate the vegetables!

4. Reach for sparkling water with a splash of 100 percent juice instead of soda.

5. Use a grill basket to cook more vegetables with ease. A variety of colorful vegetables such as corn, bell peppers, chilies and onions make a lovely grilled vegetable salad that can be the star of any dinner menu. Crank up the heat to maximize flavor, then toss cooked vegetables with avocado, black beans, cumin, lime juice, fresh herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Now wipe out that grill basket because it’s time for dessert.

6. Have some fruit for dessert. There are many fruits that are suitable for grilling such as: peaches, pineapple, melons, and — if you own a grill basket — you can wow your guests with grilled cherries.  For a satisfying dessert that is less than 200 calories try grilled peaches served with two tablespoons Greek Yogurt Cream (see recipe below), raspberries, dark chocolate and fresh mint.

*Greek Yogurt Cream
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:

Whisk to combine. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week… if it lasts that long.

Be well.

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