Its summer time! It’s the perfect time to fire up your grill and cook outside! Here are a couple tips to make sure your barbeque is not only healthy, but safe:

1. Give it a rub
Marinating or rubbing spices on lean protein can add extra flavor with the bonus of lower in salt and fat. All you need is about ½ cup of marinade or 1 tablespoon of spice rub for each pound of food. Make a simple rub of your favorite spice:  allspice, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, rosemary, or black pepper.

2. Add color
Most of your favorite colorful fruits and veggies can be grilled. The secret is to cut them into similar sized pieces that will cook quickly and evenly. Some of my favorites are bell peppers, pineapple, peaches, corn, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, squash, and zucchini.

3. Rethink your sauce
Allow your grilled masterpiece to shine on its own. Avoid using salty sauces and sugary condiments. Use as little of these as possible, or try making your own. It’s easier than you think! A squeeze of lime/lemon goes a long way to freshen up a dish.

4. Keep it safe
You don’t want anyone getting sick, so keep these simple rules in mind: avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards, utensils, and plates for raw and cooked foods. If you are marinating your meat, make sure it’s refrigerated, and never baste with the leftover marinating liquid.

5. Cooking the meat
The best way to know if the protein is fully cooked is to check its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Use the guide below to know what temperature is appropriate for each protein.

6. Let it sit
Let cooked meats rest on a clean platter, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes before carving so juices can redistribute evenly.

Rebeca Stevenson
Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach
Healthy Steps Nutrition
www.healthystepsnutrition.com