Grilling season is upon us and we can’t wait to get out there to dine with friends and family. Here are a few tips for hosting a health-conscious cookout, along with a delicious herb sauce recipe created by one of our health coaches.
Don’t forget the veggies!
Barbecues don’t have to be a total meat-fest. Balance your meal with organic vegetables and other plant-based foods. If you’ve ever gone out for Korean BBQ, you’ll notice that they serve tons of green and red leaf lettuce, perilla leaves, garlic, and other vegetable sides to be paired with each meat dish. Show your loved ones how they can aim for filling 70% of their plates with vegetables by serving them as:
- Grilled options (zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, onions, garlic)
- Salad (arugula, mesclun, slaw, cucumber salad)
- Raw snack (pickles, radishes, kimchi, vegetable platter)
- Dips/sauces (hummus, herb sauce, spinach dip, guacamole, salsa)
- Burger toppings (red onion, sauerkraut, sprouts, microgreens, lettuce, tomato)
- Lettuce cups/boats
Whether you go to the butcher, grocery store, or farmer’s market, always opt for high-quality meats. What does that mean? Look for organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed (from start to finish), hormone-free, and antibiotic-free meat selections.
For things like hot dogs and sausages, skip the conventional stuff that’s often packed with processed and potentially harmful ingredients, like nitrates and nitrites, which have been linked to certain cancers. Instead, we typically recommend U.S. Wellness Meats for more health-conscious choices.
Marinate your meats
Marinate your meats with tons of herbs and spices to cut the formation of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (HCAs) by up to 90%. Skip the bottled BBQ sauce because those are typically packed with sugar, and can actually increase the HCA formation in your food. Fresh herbs and spices to use include:
Mix any combination of those with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and/or a high-heat tolerant oil (i.e. avocado oil). All you need is to marinate for a few minutes for the protective effects to kick in. You can certainly marinate for longer for extra flavor. Check out our page on marinade ideas for inspiration.
Load up on herbs
We go bananas with fresh herbs, especially when having grilled meats. Why? Because they are filled with antioxidants to provide nutritional balance. Don’t like grazing on them like Krystle does? Check out her herb sauce recipe below that you can enjoy as a condiment or marinade.
Unbe-leaf-ably Good for You Herb Sauce
- 1 cup basil
- 1 cup parsley
- 1/2 cup chives, chopped
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- juice of 1 small lemon (adjust to your taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)*
- Combine it all in a blender/food processor and puree until smooth.
- Adjust taste as you see fit. Add more oil or a bit of water to thin it out to your preference.
*If you're using this sauce as a marinade, use avocado oil as your base because it withstands high heat cooking much better. Otherwise, use EVOO for sauces and dressings that don't require cooking.
Looking for more healthy tips and recipes?
Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook. For a more personalized plan, connect with one of our integrative practitioners to identify the best foods and supplements to rebalance your system. Call our office to find out more: 212-989-9828.