It’s summertime, and that means it’s time to start grilling.
Friends everywhere are hosting barbecues full of hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, and even those wonderful sides, like coleslaw, potato salad, chips, baked beans, deviled eggs, buttery rolls and, of course, dessert.
Besides tasting delicious, what do all of these foods have in common? They are all generally high in either saturated fat, added sugars or both.
This summer is a great time to make changes by incorporating healthier foods and living a healthier lifestyle. Doing so at the grill is the perfect way to start.
Both fruits and vegetables are just as delicious and are very nutritious. Fruits provide us with many nutrients that are often left out of other foods, such as potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folate. Vegetables also provide these nutrients, plus vitamin A. Both fruits and vegetables are usually low in fat and calories, and fruits are even low in sodium. All of these factors play a key role in maintaining health, including blood pressure, wound healing, immunity, etc. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables generally leads to a lower risk of many chronic diseases and/or cancer.
So now you may be wondering, what does this have to do with my grill? Well, there are many recipes that involve grilling different fruits and vegetables.
Grilled Vegetable Packets
Grilled Fruit Kebabs
Grilled Eggplant-Tomato Pizza
Fruits and vegetables can also be added as side dish without grilling.
Five A Day Salad
Fresh Corn Salsa
So, let’s get started this summer. Start substituting those foods high in fat and sugar for those that are full of nutrients the next time you grill, whether it’s for your family or the whole neighborhood.
Choosing healthy foods is one way to start that healthy lifestyle, but what about physical activity? Physical activity is important to keep our bodies in good shape as well.
It is recommended that adults are active at least 2 ½ hours per week, and children for at least an hour per day.
By incorporating physical activity into your day, you can help control your weight, reduce your risk for many diseases and cancer, strengthen your muscles, improve your mental health and even increase your chance for a longer life.
Once again, time by the grill is a great way to start reaching those recommendations. While the healthy foods are being prepared, family members and friends can enjoy some physical activity. There are many ways to be active both inside and outside.
Now that you know the benefits of eating healthy and being active, you can share with your friends and family. Begin your healthier lifestyle this summer by the grill.
For more information on this or other family and consumer sciences related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-444-9584.