The holiday weekend is upon us! You know what that means! It’s the most important time to remember those who died in active military service and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. With that often comes, BBQ season, and May is National BBQ Month. A BBQ is a great way to eat fresh all summer long and during a long weekend where you may be going to parades, services or memorials. Here are some great tips, suggestions, and ideas to grill safely this month and well, all year long!

Grilling is fantastic! Why? Well, for starters it’s a great way to still have cooked food without heating up the whole kitchen during these warmer months. Nobody loves firing up a hot oven when it’s already hot, but that doesn’t mean we want to eat cold food every night and no one can afford takeout every day. Instead of eating cold sandwiches all summer, head out to the grill with your favorite proteins, veggies, and even fruit! Some grills now also come with a burner for boiling water, air fryers, and baking trays. No more long hours by the stove.  Pull up your favorite lawn chair and enjoy the fresh air as you cook.

Grilling is fantastic because it allows you to cook multiple types of foods all at one time on a large surface. When the kids want hotdogs, you want steak, someone else wants chicken and everybody else wants grilled veggies, you don’t have to stress. Unlike the stove, you aren’t limited to just four corners. Most gas grills have ample room for lots of different foods and the ability to adjust the heat. A fun way to save money or try new foods this summer is to encourage everyone to bring their own “main” for their meal and offer them the grill to cook. Some people may bring fish, veggie burgers, or last fall’s venison. No stress for fighting over stove space when you have a grill.

Grilling is also great for those who like to go camping, traveling or tailgating. You can get some fancy or super basic portable grills these days. If you are vacationing on a budget, bring your baby grill to cook fresh without spending all your money dining out. If you are camping, don’t limit yourself to what you can cook on a stick over the open flame, bring a portable grill for stepping up your camping meals. Eating hotdogs for a few days can get really old, with a small grill you can cook up all types of proteins, or bring a cast iron skillet for making eggs, sandwiches, and more. Just be sure you can safely store your food at the right temperatures before grilling.

Grilling is also fantastic as a healthier option in many ways by reducing the use of fats and oils. Cooking on the stove often means cooking meats and veggies in lots of oils or sauces, whereas on the grill, all the extra fats can drip off. If you are looking to lighten up your intake this summer, consider trying your favorite foods, but cooking them on the grill. For example, instead of cooking chicken in a pan with lots of oil popping all over the place, move your chicken to the grill and you’ll save on fat and calories, but not on flavor! Veggies are also super tasty and fun on the grill. Instead of cooking up a bunch of veggies on the stovetop in butter, put them on the grill or onto skewers for easy on and off. Grilling may also entice your kids to try new foods too! Other things you may think you can’t cook on the grill: pizza, corn on the cob, and even sandwiches. Swap up your oven for the grill this summer and see what new creations you may find. You may be surprised how many fewer sauces and extras you need or use.

There you have it, grilling is all-around fantastic, it’s fun and it can save you money and help you with your weight management goals. As always grilling does come with its own unique qualities. You will need to learn how each grill works and of course take the proper safety precautions to make sure your grilling isn’t just healthy for your body, but safe too! Loose clothes can be a danger around the grill, so can having the grill in the wrong spot, like say near your vinyl siding. Teach your kids about safety around grills too! Make sure you keep your pets away from the grill and always keep a ready-to-use fire extinguisher where you can see it!

It’s national grilling month and our NEK has never looked more beautiful. Let’s all make it a priority to take advantage of the fresh air this summer and break out the grill when you get a chance.  This summer we can grill up new foods, maybe meet some new friends and of course, make some new memories. It’s summer, let’s get the grill fired up!


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center