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Summer grilling doesn’t have to be all about cheeseburgers and hotdogs. In fact, grilling can be a great way to give healthy foods like lean meats and vegetables some additional flavor.
Here are some grilling tips from America’s top chefs, including one chef who lost over 30 lbs with a strict exercise regime and a whole new attitude on food.
Chef Deborah Scott before, and 30 lbs lighter.
Deborah is the Executive Chef and Partner of the Cohn Restaurant Group, San Diego’s largest and most respected restaurant collective. Recently, she lost 30 lbs by cutting down on rich foods packed with simple carbohydrates.
Chef Scott’s recipe for success included re-aiming her focus on whole a food, balanced cuisine. She has made a dietary commitment to whole grains such as wheatberry, faro, freekah and quinoa in addition to leafy green vegetables and lean protein. Scott says moderation is key when consuming cream, fried foods and “the white stuff” including flour and sugar.
Chef Scott is bringing her newly cultivated eating habits straight to her menu with the mainstay portion of her C Level restaurant lineup, “Chef Deborah Scott’s Fuel for a Healthier Lifestyle Menu” as well as Gluten-Free options at both Indigo Grill and C Level. On the horizon, guests will be able to indulge on locally sourced dishes such as “Good Grains Growing” of her new Vintana menu, which features a plethora of healthy grains with squash, sundried apricots, currants, lemon oil and pumpkin seed brittle. This and other dishes off the menu aim to inspire diners to splurge on fine dining, without falling off the dietary wagon!
If you can’t make it out to one of Chef Scott’s restaurants, here are her tips for healthy grilling at home:
Root vegetables are great on the grill. In lieu of just salt and pepper, you can use a combination of spices, which will cut back on the quantity of salt.
Here is a great spice mix for most any application on the grill:
1 T oregano
1 T black pepper
1 T granulated onion
1 T granulated garlic
1 T unrefined sea salt
4 T paprika
2 T chile powder
2 t sugar
1 T fennel
Mix all ingredients together as a dry rub.
You can also use summer squash, onions, tomatoes, peppers, or basically any vegetable. There are screens that are made specifically for holding less dense vegetables.”
Other healthy grilling tips from Chef Deborah Scott:
1) Lean meats are also great on the grill. Bison is a great alternative to standard beef or pork ribs.
2) Also, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, and all other tubular vegetables can be blanched first, then finished on the grill. This is a great way to keep all of the cooking in one area for ease of execution while entertaining.
3) One of the best ways to reduce caloric intake is portion control. Vegetables are a great filler and should make up the largest portion of the meal.
4) One of the great things about grilling is the communal environment that is created. It’s a great way to bring family and friends together.
Chef Scott isn’t the only successful American chef that uses grilling as a healthy and tasty way to prepare meals. Here are more grilling tips from more of America’s top chefs:
“Braising foods is something I’ve done throughout my career and can be done with cheaper cuts of meat. Braising can be made very healthy by using very little fat, starch, and bringing fresh vegetables and herbs to the center of the plate.” – Chef Greg Nicolaou, Executive Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, Michigan.
“Tri-tip has been of my go to summer grilling meats. It will feed about 8 people, it’s cheap, and you can grill it with salt and pepper, or marinate it with various flavors.” – Chef Kyle Rourke of Red Star Tavern in Portland, Oregon
“Try grilling fruit- Fruits such as apples, pears, and peaches take to the grill very well. The trick is to use fruit that is a day or two from being fully ripe. This way the fruit will retain its texture.” – Chef Johnny Collante of Jolane’s Restaurant in Glenview, Illinois
“When rubbing the steak with olive oil, remove all excess oil to avoid flame flare ups and soot collecting in the meat. Char is not good for you, nor does it taste good!” – Chef Matthew Lake is Chef/Partner at ZY Food Wine & Cheese, a contemporary American restaurant in Salt Lake City, UT.
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