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30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 12: Make a healthy substitution to a meal

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

Summer is looming and Father’s Day weekend is right around the corner. That means the season for picnics, BBQs, and other traditionally-unhealthy outings.

With that in mind, here’s today’s challenge: Make a healthy substitution to a meal. Whether you take more steps while cooking or go for salad instead of fries, do something today to make your diet a little healthier.

If taking your meal outdoors for a barbecue is on your radar, here are some easy ways to step up your grilling technique and get ready for some healthy summer cooking.

30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 12: Make a healthy substitution to a meal

Grill Hot and Burn Low – This may seem like basic technique, but make sure your grill is 100% up to temperature before adding your meat or veggies. This ensures consistent cooking every time you fire up the grill. And keep your flame low. Healthy grilling means no flare-ups, which can burn your meat or veggies, producing unhealthy HCAs and other toxins.

Go For Quality – 30 Days to Summer Fit is all about getting fit, and you can bet that extends to healthy cooking. One of the most important parts of grilling? Quality ingredients. Don’t skimp on your meat. Organic meat is not just better for you, but it tastes great too. Pastured-raised is a great second choice.

Grill Cold – Perhaps you’ve been told to let your meat sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes prior to grilling. In reality, it makes zero difference in taste, so save yourself the trouble and grill your meat right out of the fridge!

Add Nutritious Herbs and Spices – Salt and pepper are essential. But take it up a notch with nutritious herbs and spices like sage, rosemary, turmeric, cinnamon, chili peppers, and ginger. Many have purported antioxidant and immune-boosting qualities, but regardless, they taste great!

Pat Your Steaks Dry – You want to sear, not steam. Make sure your steak, chicken or fish is free of any water moisture prior to introducing it to the grill. That’s how you get the best searing action.

Oil Your Grill – To prevent sticking, here’s a simple technique. Use a paper towel held with a pair of tongs to rub some oil onto your grill grate. This also helps keep your meat or veggies moisture-free. But don’t over oil or you risk a flare up.

Don’t Forget Fruit and Veggies! – Meat and fish may be the go-to grilling staple, but grilling intensifies the flavor of healthy fruit and veggies making them prime candidates for BBQ season. Try pineapple, peaches, asparagus and peppers!

What’s your technique for a perfect barbecue or a healthy side? Let us know in the comments, or by

4 Responses leave one →
  1. Linda D permalink
    June 2, 2014

    Really good ideas to keep in mind this summer Thanks!

  2. Liz permalink
    June 2, 2014

    I cook skinlees, boneless chicken breasts on my grill. The trick is to mostly cook them in the microwave first. Then add them to the grill, with your favorite BBQ sauce, just long enough to get that awesome BBQ taste. But because they’re mostly cooked, they won’t dry out like they would without the skin if you put them on the grill raw. Plus, it’s faster so less waiting for your meal.

  3. YVONNE CONDO permalink
    June 2, 2014

    Can I start on Day 11?

  4. Maggie permalink
    June 2, 2014

    Well, I had a hard boiled egg instead of my usual evening snack of cookies. Light is off in the kitchen and I’m trying not to think about those cookies. :)

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