by Julie Beyer, MA, RDN
Despite the changing leaves that signal that autumn is on its way, by the calendar, it is still summer! And what better way to extend your summer fun than to keep your grill humming! Yes, grilling is a great way to prepare healthy, low acid foods!
Now, maybe you haven’t thought about grilling much because all you can think about are the spicy barbeque sauces and acidic marinades that upset your fragile bladder or tummy. Without them, you think, food is going to be bland and dry. The good news is that grilled food can still be flavorful and moist without the high acid and spicy accompaniments. You just have to do a little problem solving and modify some of your favorite recipes!
Here are some mouth watering ideas to get you started:
- Baste your food with olive or avocado oil flavored with salt and herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, etc…). The fat contributes as much, if not more, to the meat’s tenderness than the acid in a marinade.
- Partially cook chicken or pork loins in MSG-free chicken broth in your oven, then finish cooking on your grill to give it that final delicious, smoky flavor. The less time the meat is exposed to the hot, dry temperatures of the grill, the more moist it will be.
- Use higher fat beef steaks or ground beef patties for melt in your mouth flavor. When was the last time you had a great steak that was simply seasoned with salt and a little pepper? Yum!
- Create foil dinners right in your backyard just like campers do. Spray a sheet of foil with non-stick cooking spray. Wrap your meat or fish into foil packages before grilling. Add fresh basil or rosemary springs to chicken breasts, thyme and sage to pork. Include sliced bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash, baby spinach or kale leaves, fresh green beans, sliced carrots, left-over rice, onions, salt and pepper, as tolerated. Try cooking fresh shrimp in butter, garlic, and salt for a “grilled” scampi that is out of this world!
- Enjoy beef, chicken, or vegetarian kabobs from your grill. Soak wooden kabob sticks in water for an hour, then alternate slices of bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, squash and cubed beef or chicken. (You might want to partially cook your meat as suggested above.) Brush with melted butter or olive oil, and season as desired. Grill until meat is cook thoroughly.
- Grill corn right on the cob. Simply prepare a brine solution made with 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of sugar added to one gallon of water. Soak unshucked corn cobs for at least 30 minutes, then grill for about 10 minutes. Pull back the grilled greens and eat directly from the cob!
- “Bake” potatoes on the grill by wrapping washed and dried potatoes in foil. Don’t forget to pierce the potatoes with a fork like you do when you bake them in your oven! If you don’t have an hour to wait for your potatoes to cook, slice them thinly, add some onion slices, salt, pepper (as tolerated), and a small pat of butter. Wrap it all in foil to create individual servings and grill for about 15 minutes.
- Finally, keep your food safe. Use a food thermometer to determine doneness and review safe cooking temperatures. http://www.foodsafety.gov. Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Always use a fresh, clean platter to serve your meat from, not the same plate that held your raw meat.
So, whether you cook over a campfire, grill over coals, or use a modern propane four burner cooker, there is still time to savor these last days of summer!
About The Author
Julie Beyer MA, RDN is an internationally recognized expert on diet and interstitial cystitis. She is a dual graduate from Michigan State University with a Master’s degree in Health Communications and serves on the faculty of the University of Phoenix. Drawing on her personal experience with interstitial cystitis and her professional expertise as a registered dietitian, Julie is the author of three books about IC.