CHOOSE HIGH QUALITY MEAT
Meat is often the star of the cookout, so make sure you choose high-quality lean proteins for a delicious and healthy main course. At Food City, our Meat and Seafood Department has got you covered. From certified angus beef steaks, to all-natural chicken and fresh seafood, you can find something to satisfy every tastebud. July is also Beef Month in Tennessee! To celebrate, choose lean cuts of beef such as top sirloin or tenderloin for less saturated fat. Trim excess fat from the sides of the meat as well to avoid drippings from flaring up on the grill.
Marinating lean meats for 30 minutes to one hour prior to cooking helps to break down tough proteins, keeping your meat tender and juicy. Making your own marinade is easy. First, choose an acid such as lemon or lime juice or vinegar. Toss together with your favorite herbs and spices and olive oil if desired.
DIAL DOWN THE HEAT
Cooking meat, chicken and fish at searing temperatures can cause the proteins to char and create cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines, or HCAs. Instead, cook your meat slowly at a lower temperature, which helps to minimize charring. Flip your meat frequently to prevent crusting as well.
ADD FRUITS AND VEGGIES
Add color, variety and flavor to your cookout by grilling fruits and vegetables. It is recommended that we fill half of our plates with fruits and vegetables at each meal, but most of us come nowhere near to meeting that recommendation. Grilling vegetables intensifies their natural flavor and also adds a nutrient boost to your cookout meal. Fruits such as watermelon, peaches or pineapple can be thrown on the grill for a short time as well for a delicious and satisfying dessert that also packs a nutritious punch.
Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN Food City Registered Dietitian