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Beyond burgers and brats - Healthy grilling ideas for summer barbecues

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Summertime means grill time!

From backyard barbecues to block parties, summertime means grill time! Here are some tips to make summer grilling healthy too!
More than burgers and brats
Pick your pleasure, gas or charcoal -- grilling usually means bratwurst, steaks and burgers. But, this summer, why not add a few new healthy dishes to your menu including poultry, fish fillets, roasted vegetables or even grilled angel food cake? With simple how-to techniques and delicious recipes, you'll be able to put together incredibly tasty yet healthy dishes.

MayoClinic.com recommends that you choose foods that you already enjoy, yet don't traditionally use for grilling -- like poultry, fish, lean meats and vegetables. Here's a sampling of their grilling tips and ideas:

 

  • Choose white-meat poultry without the skin and lean cuts of meat, such as sirloin, flank or tenderloin. Turn often to avoid overcooking or burning.

     

  • Trim visible fat off meat and remove poultry skin before grilling.

     

  • Marinate meat to add flavor and to keep it tender. Try fat-free salad dressings, low-salt soy sauce, lemon juice or even wine.

     

  • For fish, place thick flanks of fish directly onto the grilling grates. Place thin fish fillets on foil, or in foil packets along with lemons, vegetables and your favorite herbs.

    Main-dish alternative: pizza anyone?
    Try grilled, cheeseless pizzas for a super way to cut fat but not flavor. Start with ready-made pizza crusts and come up for ideas for healthy toppings -- such as grilled vegetables.

    Another healthy idea is to make your next grilled meal meatless. Eggplant, summer squash, bell peppers, sweet onions, small tomatoes, mushrooms, mangoes, pineapples and peaches all work well on the grill. Check out recipes for vegetarian kabobs or ginger-marinated portabella mushrooms for your main dish.

    And for dessert, instead of fat-laden ice cream or cake, look to fresh fruits. The dry heat of grilling intensifies and caramelizes the natural sugars in fruit. Favorite fruits on the grill include halves or slices of apricots, peaches, pineapples and nectarines. Or, grill slices of angel food cake and top with chilled strawberries, blueberries or raspberries.

    With a little ingenuity, you can keep your barbecue traditions and still maintain a healthy diet.

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