Kathy Hamlin

Kathy Hamlin

Grilling season is here! The summer months are filled with backyard barbecues and get-togethers with friends and family. Grilling your foods can save you cleanup in the kitchen and allow you more time to enjoy with your loved ones.

Some tips for the grill:

• Start by preheating your grill 15 to 25 minutes before cooking.

• Brush off the grill after it is pre-heated to get debris off more easily

• Eat fresh: The grill isn’t just for meat. There are many fruits and vegetables to fill half of your plate. A few examples are asparagus, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, zucchini, summer squash, onions, mushrooms, pineapple, peaches and more!

• Put some of your favorite seasonings like rosemary, parsley, garlic, oil, black pepper, salt, basil or thyme on your veggies before putting them on the grill.

• Some vegetables work just fine cooked straight on the grill, while others that are small cut or delicate tend to fall through the grill grates. Wrap those in foil to roast with your seasonings on your grill. Another great option is a grill basket.

• If you’re using bamboo skewers for your vegetables and/or meat, make sure you soak them in water an hour before cooking.

• Choose lean meats: Turkey burgers are a great alternative to regular beef burgers. They absorb a lot of the flavors that you cook with them. Other lean options are chicken breasts, low-fat burgers and fish.

The trick to cook fish on the grill is to use the right grilling method. Tuna steaks, salmon, halibut and swordfish are densely textured and can be grilled directly on the grill grate. More delicate fish such as tilapia and sole can be grilled inside of a foil packet or grill basket.

Another key: Marinate fish after — rather than before — grilling. Post-grill marinating ensures that the fish does not fall apart and still comes away with excellent flavor.

Kathy Hamlin is a registered dietitian for Hy-Vee stores in Rochester. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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