When the summer months roll around, it is the perfect time to grill your meals. With the warm weather steaming up the kitchen, enjoying the outdoors a little more while you grill your next meal is worthwhile. Plus, grilling is known to be healthier—especially when it comes to meats. Here are some tips for healthy and safe grilling next time you are getting ready to prepare a meal.

Use Lean Meats

Grilling meat is among the healthiest ways to prepare meat because the fat drops off. Instead of the meat soaking up the fat or needing to put oil in a pan, the meat drips the fat into the fire. Additionally, you should try to pick lean meats like white meat such as chicken, flank steak, and pork chops. The leaner the meat, the less fat it will contain and the fewer fat droppings there will be. Fewer droppings mean less risk of PAHs, which are said to increase your risk of cancer.

Achieve the Proper Temperature

As you are grilling, the next step is to use a food thermometer to ensure you cook the meat to a certain internal temperature. The temperature will depend on the cut and type of meat you use. Poultry is one of the meats that must be cooked well. If it is even slightly raw, it will make anyone who eats it sick. A food thermometer allows you to see if your meats are done when grilling. After a three-minute rest, ground beef should reach 71.1 degrees Celsius. Chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 75 to 80 degrees Celsius and other portions of beef are considered medium-well when the temperature reaches 75 degrees Celsius.

The Dangers of Undercooked Meat

Many cooks prefer to wing it and use their eyes when determining if a piece of meat is cooked all the way through. You are encouraged, however, to use the internal thermometer anyway simply because there are many dangers in eating undercooked meats. Poultry products—including chicken and turkey—can carry salmonella, and pork and beef may be carrying E. coli. Someone who does eat undercooked meat can end up with food poisoning and experience diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting for a few days. Cooking meat to the proper temperature allows the heat to kill the salmonella and E.coli, so it’s important to follow the recommended guidelines for cooking if you don’t want to get sick.

Healthy Grilled Chicken Recipe

Here’s a healthy grilled chicken recipe if you want to enjoy the benefits of a lean, grilled meal:

  1. Marinade a couple of chicken breasts with olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, and herbs for twenty-four hours. 
  2. Heat the grill to the proper temperature of 75 to 80 degrees Celsius. 
  3. Put the chicken on the grill ensuring both sides are thoroughly cooked. 
  4. Once you have checked the internal temperature and it is good to go, let it rest for a few minutes. 
  5. Slice and serve with vegetables.

There are many benefits to grilling meals when the weather allows. It is a healthier cooking method because the food is cooked without the need for fat. For the novice who wants to grill, be sure to gather the equipment you need before you get started—including an internal thermometer so you don’t risk getting a foodborne illness.