Portobello burger: This large member of the mushroom family makes an ideal stand-in for the typical hamburger fare. Use your favorite marinade or simply brush with olive oil and seasonings, then place on the grill until tender. Top with the usual suspects: freshly sliced tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and pickle.
Salmon and corn-on-the-cob: Place salmon fillets in aluminum foil, coat with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper or your own concoction. Close up the foil package and place over the heat source. Corn-on-the-cob makes a tasty side dish. Preboil the corn and then place directly on the grill. Spice lovers may want to coat the cobs with chili powder or Cajun spice prior to cooking.
As you plan your meals, add to the enjoyment by making them as healthy as possible. For example, grilling high-fat meats directly above flame or close to the heat source for a long period of time can create carcinogens (chemicals believed to lead to cancer). To decrease your exposure:
Grill thin cuts of lean meats, poultry, or fish (you might like to try some organic varieties). Quickly sear food and don’t place it too close to the heat.
Consume large amounts of green vegetables. The chlorophyll in vegetables binds with carcinogens during digestion and helps to limit absorption. So, haul out your barbeque along with a healthy serving of greens.
Opt for a gas grill or natural wood briquettes instead of charcoal (and omit the lighter fluid, which contains high levels of volatile organic compounds that can cause smog).
In short, when it comes to healthy outdoor eating, think lean protein with lots of vegetables and fruits. Grill on low heat, but as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Follow these tips to enjoy healthy and fabulous food all summer long.
Kathleen Finn is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in the natural health industry. She wishes the barbeque season was a much longer one.