Tips For A Healthy Summer BBQ

It's time to gather around the backyard with family and friends. Everyone is looking for a delicious meal, but most everyone is also watching their beach bodies during the summer. Barbecuing is a great choice when you are looking to cook a healthy meal and PERDUE® chicken offers tasty options to grill.

The American Heart Association has coined the term "fat-sensibly" to describe how you should cook through the warmer spring, summer, and fall seasons. Grilling chicken is at the top of that list – especially if you follow healthy cooking tips and pump up the flavor with vegetables, fruits, and herbs. 

Choose Chicken

Chicken can keep you loaded with protein without the saturated fat and cholesterol in red meats, such as beef, lamb, and pork. Saturated fat and cholesterol have been linked to an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Make PERDUE® chicken your meat of choice a few days a week for healthy summer barbecue.  It's versatile enough that you won't ever get bored. According to the American Heart Association, eliminating that steak even once in a while can reduce your risk of elevated blood cholesterol.

Choose Chicken Infographic

Keep it Low Fat
PERDUE® gives you many options of chicken to grill and you can increase the health benefits by following a few tips:

  • Choose chicken breasts over thighs or legs
  • Remove the skin before grilling. Or, to sear in juices better, grill with the skin on and then pull off before eating
  • Try chicken burgers instead of beef for a change of flavor and lower fat content
  • Cook your chicken on a rack so the fat drips down rather than staying on the food
  • If you are worried about your chicken drying, add healthy fat, such as olive oil or avocado to your cooking

Hint: Try PERDUE® Perfect Portions, which are skinless, no antibiotics ever, and individually wrapped for quick and easy healthy summer barbecue.

Be Colorful

Think color when you are trying to keep your barbecue healthy. Choose bright yellow, green, red, orange, and purple vegetables and fruits to enhance your PERDUE® chicken. You can put them right on the grill with your chicken, or make a simple foil pack:

Lay out a square piece of aluminum foil and put cut up fruits and/or vegetables right on top of a chicken breast. Season and fold. Pinch the foil to make sure it's sealed and then put it on the grill. Let all the flavors blend for a healthy, delicious, and simple meal.

Try different produce such as pineapple, mango, eggplant, peppers, onions, snow peas, and anything else in season.

Watch the Salt
Excess salt can quickly make your healthy barbecue unhealthy.  Keep the salt to a minimum. Your PERDUE® chicken doesn't need a dose of salt to make it delicious. Try sprinkling it with herbs instead. In the summer, you can even find plenty of fresh herbs. Rosemary, basil, and parsley are just a few that will bring out the flavors of your chicken.

Also watch out for high sodium contents of condiments such as teriyaki, barbecue, and soy sauces, as well as ketchup. Buy lower sodium versions or make your own. Garlic and scallions will add plenty of flavor without bulk. If you like barbecue sauce, try dicing or pureeing tomatoes and season with herbs and brown sugar.
After the Barbecue
Be sure to use the leftovers from your healthy summer barbecue for lunches. Grilled PERDUE® chicken makes excellent an excellent sandwich. Try mashing up some avocado instead of mayonnaise, or wrapping it in a whole wheat tortilla instead of bread to make it even healthier.

You can also cut up chicken to throw into soups for extra protein, or to use on a salad. Just make sure you don't ruin it with a rich and fattening dressing. Top it with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil instead.

 Marcia Frost has been compensated by Perdue for her advice and honest opinions in this article.