Grilling with Affordable, Healthy Alternatives

Although May is National Grilling Month, supply chain issues, high energy costs, weather conditions and labor shortages have driven the price of meat through the roof.  Large batches of ground beef have been recalled in the United States, and bird flu threatens poultry operations. Although you may be craving a juicy steak, it could be July before prices for beef, chicken, and pork level off after double-digit percentage increases over the past year. 

Shopping sales, buying wholesale, and comparing prices can help save money, but people feeding a large family may want to consider less expensive cuts of meat and adding more vegetables and beans to smaller portions of meat.  Cutting back on red meat may also be a heart-healthy decision.  According to the Cleveland Clinic, people with heart disease or high cholesterol should limit red meat consumption to 3 ounces or less per week and choose the leanest cuts available. 

A plant-based Mediterranean diet that includes fish, and other white meats along with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts is considered one of the healthiest eating plans.  People who rarely eat red meat have a lower risk for heart disease and greater longevity.  Grilling can still be healthy by incorporating roasted vegetables and grilled fish, chicken, or tofu and experimenting with fresh herbs and spices. 

Whether you are a seasoned grilling pro or a novice at alfresco cooking, outdoor cooking cuts back on kitchen cleanup and makes meal preparation more fun.  As the temperature rises, cooking outside keeps the house cooler.  Fish is especially nice to grill outdoors to avoid lingering cooking smells inside.  

Follow this link to Epicurious for recipes that feature fish and vegetables suitable for grilling.  And to make grilling safer, avoid very high heat that can char meat and flip frequently.  Wrapping veggies, fruits, and meats in foil can also protect them from high heat and charring associated with an increased risk of certain cancers