Summertime is the season for grilling, unless you live in Phoenix where we grill year round! When you think of grilling, you think of savory ribs, big hamburgers, thick steaks, and long hotdogs. While these are all great foods to grill, eating them constantly is not the best way to maintain a healthy diet, especially for those recovering from an injury.
Websites like Steve Raichlen’s Barbecue Bible and Robin Lindars’ Grill Girl show that there are plenty of ways to have a healthy BBQ. They have ideas like grilling chicken, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and even different types of marinade you can use to make your BBQ healthier.
Most importantly, patients need to be careful of what they eat when recovering from an injury. When you are bedridden for extended periods of time, eating the right foods can fast track your recovery. Eating red meats are a no-no because they can lead to constipation. Instead, focus on lean protein supplemented with fresh fruits and veggies.
Let’s start with the proteins; there are alternatives to the traditional red meats and pork that are often served. Some of the best BBQ food I ever had was grilled seafood and chicken. Fantastic seafood for the grill includes scallops, shrimp, prawns, and fish such as salmon, whitefish, and lobster. All of these proteins provide a healthy alternative to beef and pork. Chicken breast is an especially healthy white meat. It comes in varying sizes and is easy to grill and flavor with whatever seasoning or marinade you like. Kabobs are a clever way to be healthy with endless variations of vegetables, fruits, fish, or meat.
Grilling vegetables and fruits can take your healthy BBQ to the next level. Grilling fruit and vegetables caramelizes their natural sugar, intensifying their flavor. Some of my favorite veggies to grill are asparagus, bell and chili peppers, corn, eggplant, and avocados. Just be sure to brush them lightly with some olive oil prior to grilling otherwise the vegetable will stick to the grill grates.
Grilled fruits are best left for dessert. The increased flavor and sweetness of grilled fruit makes for the perfect dessert after serving up a healthy BBQ dinner. Some of my favorite fruit to grill are peaches, pineapples, watermelon, and figs. Just remember that bigger thicker pieces require longer on the grill, and smaller pieces are best skewered.
Finally, a marinade can make a huge flavor impact. Using solid bases for your proteins, such as olive oil, can make for a full, rich grilled flavor. Chicken and seafood are made even better with the use of an acidic base such as lemon or orange juice, but again, it’s all up to your imagination and the taste you want to achieve.
As a safety tip, whenever you use as a marinade, please dispose of it after use; it contains harmful byproducts of uncooked meat. Fruit can be marinated in alcohols such as wine, as the alcohol will cook off and leave behind its distinct flavor. Besides, a glass of wine is healthy, and you deserve it after pulling off a healthy feast from the grill!