3 Tips To Up Your Summer Grilling Game

by Emily Duerr, RDN, LD

Last Updated: June 15, 2020

Although summer activities may look a little different this year due to the ever-changing coronavirus pandemic, you can make the most of classic summertime traditions, adapting them to fit the current environment. My personal favorite - and very pandemic-appropriate - is cooking dinner on the grill! With all the time we’ve been spending cooped up inside, the thought of firing up the old backyard grill is extra exciting, and a big help in breaking up your at-home cooking routine. We’ve put together some tips to help you grill up foods that rival those of your favorite restaurant.
  1. Safety first.
    • Keep your grill clean to prevent a dangerous buildup of grease. Be careful if using a wire brush - the bristles can fall onto the grill grate and end up in your food. Instead, try some of these alternative grill cleaning methods.
    • Before grilling, store your meat, poultry, and seafood refrigerated or below 40˚F in an insulated cooler.
    • Avoid cross-contamination to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. This means washing your hands before and after handling food (especially raw meat), cleaning work surfaces and utensils before and after cooking, disposing of marinades used for raw foods, and using a clean plate and tongs to remove cooked food from the grill.
    • Always cook your food to the proper temperature - check this chart for details.
    • Freeze or refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking (or within one hour if the outside temperature is above 90˚F).
  2. Keep nutrition in mind.
    • Don’t forget to balance your plate. Aim for 1/2 your plate to be filled with fruits and vegetables, 1/4 of your plate lean protein, and 1/4 of your plate starch (think: potatoes, corn, macaroni salad, chips, or buns).
    • Eat mindfully: slow down at mealtime, wait at least 20 minutes after your meal before going back for seconds (maybe you won’t be hungry by then), and savor your food. This can prevent you from over-indulging and feeling too full.
    • High-heat cooking methods, such as grilling, may increase certain health risks. This is because cooking foods at high heat for a long period of time may create harmful compounds. But there are some things you can do to reduce the formation of these unfavorable compounds to protect your health without giving up the grill.
  3. Don’t be scared to try new recipes!
    With the coronavirus pandemic affecting the food supply in some cases, you may need to switch up some of your go-to grilling options, but this could be a great opportunity to try something new.Check out some of our top options:

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Emily Duerr, RDN, LD

Emily Duerr, RDN, LD

Emily strongly believes in a balanced diet- choosing foods that are good for your body AND good for your soul. With this philosophy, she can help you meet your health goals without having to give up your favorite foods. In addition to a passion for nutrition, Emily loves spending time outside with her two rescue dogs.