Eat Your Charred Heart Out

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Clearly Mola Ram knows how to party. But do YOU, dear reader? Are you prepared to satiate the masses’ roaring collective appetite for gaggles of grilled goodness that’s also good for them? Well, maybe you are. I don’t know you that well. How was your holiday weekend? How are you parents? Did you, your friends, or your family members avoid artery-clogging, processed fare this past fourth of July? I’ll go out on a limb and say yes.

INCORRECT Pictures, Images and Photos

Ah, nerds! The truth hurts. But don’t be ashamed; it’s not too late for schlubs like us. Though I have tasted the heretical flavors of the forbidden brat and the verboten allure of the hot dog, that doesn’t mean that I (i.e.: you) am a lost cause. It means I am human: I have made mistakes, but I, too, have the capacity for change. Come, dear reader: change with me. Let’s flambe the summer away to our heart’s collective content. Let’s rid ourselves of unhealthy horrors but remain replete with the tastes all grill lovers (especially Madonna) cherish.

Madonna-Cherish

The official Whole Foods Market blog kicks off our exploration into healthy grilling with a comprehensive how-to-grill guide; particularly juicy tidbits (fake editor’s note: that was clearly a hilarious grill pun) include lightly brushing canola oil on veggies and fruits to prevent sticking; dousing fish in acid-based (example: lemon juice) marinades for less than twenty minutes to prevent mushiness; and allowing fish to develop a crust vital to easy removal by not touching, poking, or moving the pieces for the first three minutes.

dirtywork

It smells like fish in here?

In a similar vein, The Reluctant Gourmet passes on some simple techniques, like bringing items to room temp before grilling, carrying a spray water bottle in case of untimely flare-ups, and understanding the importance of a preheated grill, be it charcoal or gas. Once your flames have reached their peak, HealthCastle urges you to avoid being redundant or boring: with so many cuts of meat, they advise everyone to broaden meat horizons, and even provide fat content and cooking tips for the most popular meat cuts.

One tip HealthCastle forgot: if possible, avoid buying meat from Bill the Butcher.

One tip HealthCastle forgot: if possible, avoid all meat commerce with Bill the Butcher.

Conversely, if you flout smug, serial meat tasting in f(l)avor of the most American of meats—the hamburger—then friend, at least do it right: peruse six steps to a delicious beef burger from RealSimple (example: use your fingers to make a shallow well in the top of each patty, which will prevent overplumping), or try the Ultimate Homemade Burger from Men’s Health: by swapping ground turkey for ground beef, as they suggest, you save nearly 100 calories per patty, and using their Swiss cheese/guacamole combo more than compensates for any perceived drop in taste.

guacturkey

Froth accordingly

Some of us (bloggers) are lazy, and others (me) have tiny brains,  so opting for the frozen patties at the Safeway often seems like a smart, efficient plan; fortunately, HealthCastle refutes this claim, proving that making your own patty versus thawing out a store-bought frisbee is cheaper, healthier (drastically less sodium), and only 15 minutes longer. Plus their recipe includes the whole grain bulgur; though purists may scoff, perhaps “zero trans fats,” “more fiber,” and “less overall fat content” might convince them.

The Vulgar Bulgars warn you not to #)*@*#! slight bulgur burgers.

The Vulgar Bulgars warn you not to #)*@*#! slight bulgur burgers.

HealthCastle also warns us about what’s in our favorite condiments: the sodium, calories, and fat content of all the usual suspects (ketchup, mustard, mayo) are on display here, as is this important caveat: a single serving size of each of these savory spreads is one tablespoon. If you’d rather revamp what your burger wears, RealSimple recommends twelve creative toppings, like cajun grilled onions on a turkey burger, quick pickled cucumbers on a salmon burger, or pineapple-jalapeno salsa on a beef burger.

The dancing Better Off Dead burger FTW

The dancing Better Off Dead burger FTW

You know, all this talk about grilled grub is making me thirsty. What’s that, you say? Booze? Hey now. Not so fast, homey. First, to class up the joint, we should check out Whole Foods’s Top 10 Summer Wines: care for a refreshing V-Solo Verdelho, m’lady? Then, naturally, we heed Men’s Health’s advice and partake in sixteen alcohol swaps that can save us lbs: for example, mojitos over Long Island Iced Teas at the beach, Beck’s Light over Bud Light while we lounge, and bloody marys over pina coladas when dreaming of an island paradise.

colonelchi

And don't hang up!

Mostly, though, to be healthy while manning the grill this summer (and year-round, really), we must remember this: according to Healthline, we don’t necessarily need meat (or dairy) to be healthy and active. As The Daily Green posits in their healthy BBQ tips, eating a steak with, say, a side of broccoli will counteract the unhealthy effects of red meat (fatty, excess protein) more effectively than eating said steak with French fries.

So if you’re busting out some braised steak tips for the fam, braise a healthy portion of brussels sprouts while you’re at it. That way, you can have your (beef)cake… and eat it too.

What a cake eater.

What a cake eater.

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