Dining Al Fresco

Summer is drawing to an end and it’s time to make the most of the season with some healthy outdoor recipes before that window of opportunity closes. What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of healthy eating and outside? Grilling! 

The Set-up

 Your outdoor food prep and cooking area can be as simple or intricate as you want it to be. You could easily do all of your food prep in your traditional kitchen and bring everything outside to cook. That would be the most straightforward approach if you don’t typically spend a lot of time cooking food outside of your kitchen. You’re close to all of your cooking tools and it’s easier to keep the prep-mess contained.

For the more die hard outdoor chef, who spends a great deal of time entertaining or even cooking and dining al fresco, an outdoor kitchen may be the route to go. Imagine how great it would be to have the tools of the trade stowed neatly away in your outdoor stainless steel kitchen. Not having to keep going back and forth from your indoor kitchen to cook outside will allow you more time to enjoy your guests and feel more like you are interacting than simply providing a meal. 

Healthy and Practical

 The health benefits of grilling are more abundant than you may have ever realized. One of the most obvious benefits is how fat is able to drain away from the food you are about to eat. Cooking on the grate allows fat to drip away from your food instead of marinating in the juices and reabsorbing them for you to consume. 

When you are trying to be wiser about the foods you consume, choosing to eat the right foods is essential! What’s more perfect to pair with an outdoor meal than to be sure to have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables? Cooking vegetables on the grill makes them tastier than just cooking them in the kitchen. You may find that your kids are actually enjoying veggies they may have otherwise refused to eat. 

Fruit on a nice summer day is refreshing; not only that, it will satisfy any sweet cravings you may be having. Making small changes to what we eat can provide for better nutrition and overall health. Fruits provide vitamins, antioxidants and even a source of water. Once you put some distance between you and the sugars in baked goods and junk food, you will notice the natural sweetness of the fruit is even more abundant.

Added Benefits

 It’s not just the health side of cooking outdoors that is beneficial to you, there are other added perks. Cooking outside lowers energy consumption; it’s actually more budget-friendly to cook outside. In the summer months, it also keeps out the added heat from cooking outdoors, which also helps with keeping the costs of cooling your home down. Preparing your meal outdoors may also save you time since it can be quicker than cooking with more traditional means. 

When you are considering your next al fresco meal, keep in mind a few tips to help your meal not only be tasty but healthy. Choose your protein wisely; fish and skinless chicken are the healthiest options. Keep portion sizes appropriate; the portion size of your protein should be about 3ozs (but no more than 6ozs). Prepare your meat with a marinade or a rub for added flavor; not only will it lower the amount of salt you use, but it will also add extra flavor. Feed your eyes! Be sure to include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables and move away from unhealthy options. Most importantly, enjoy! 

 

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