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10 Healthy Ideas for a Lean Barbecue Season

These grilling tips can help you have a healthier cookout.
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Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 6: Use the leanest cuts of beef and pork and trim any visible fat before cooking.

Just how much fat and saturated fat can you cut this way? Here's a beef example:

  • A 4-ounce serving of a higher fat steak (Porterhouse), broiled with 1/8-inch trim of fat, contains 337 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 10 grams of saturated fat.
  • A leaner steak (top sirloin), trimmed of visible fat and broiled, contains 240 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 4 grams of saturated fat per 4-ounce serving.

Here's a pork example:

  • A 4-ounce serving of a higher-fat pork cut (pork chop whole loin), broiled, contains 274 calories, 16 grams fat, and 6 grams saturated fat.
  • A leaner pork cut (tenderloin), roasted, contains 162 calories, 4 grams fat, and 1.4 grams saturated fat per 4-ounce serving.

Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 7: Be sensible about servings.

Encourage eating smaller portions by grilling the meat in smaller portions, such as:

  • 1/4 pound burgers (made with extra-lean ground sirloin) instead of 1/3 or 1/2 pound patties.
  • Filet mignon-sized steaks instead of 10- to 16-ounce steaks.
  • Kabobs made with small pieces of meat, alternated with vegetables.
  • Link sausage cut lengthwise in half instead of grilled whole.
  • Thin slices of larger cuts of meat (such whole pork tenderloin, roasts, etc). Let the meat rest 10 minutes after cooking, then slice before serving to family or guests.

Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 8: Tenderize lean meats with marinades!

When grilling lean meat, use lower-fat marinades with acid ingredients to help break down the tough fibers. Marinades add lots of flavor, too.

But keep in mind that the power of marinades is only skin-deep. They can tenderize the surface of the meat only to about 1/4 inch. That's why it's important to make sure the marinade covers the entire surface of your meat. It also helps to score the meat (cut into the surface about 1/4 inch deep with a sharp knife in several places) before coating it with marinade.

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