Summer is in full swing. The pools are open, school is winding down, and the barbeque grills are firing up. Before you put that burger, chicken, or seafood over the flame, ask yourself what you really know about what you’re grilling. It’s more important than ever these days to Do Your Part and be informed while you shop to make a healthier choices for your family and friends.
To find out how the beef or chicken you're getting was raised and fed talk to your butcher or check out the label before buying. If you're looking for organic meats, seek out the USDA Organic label. This label verifies that the cattle were given only organic feed and were not injected with growth hormones or antibiotics.
Another important question - are the meats you’re buying local? Any seasoned butcher will be able to tell you the farm they’re from. Supporting local farms keeps money in your community and cuts down on the miles food travels to get to your table. This goes for locally grown vegetables too, which are a tasty addition to your grilling menu.
For the seafood lovers in the group, it’s important to be informed about which seafood to buy and which to avoid. There are easy guides to sustainable seafood choices online and a number of free apps available for your smartphone. You’ll find a list at DoYourPart.com/Columns.
Grilling is the perfect way to give your energy hungry oven the night off. It’s more efficient to cook on a gas grill but if you have a charcoal grill – don’t chuck it! Instead, use additive-free and all-natural charcoals. Also, eliminate the need to use toxic lighter fluid by spending a few dollars on a chimney starter that will get your coals hot in just a matter of minutes and will actually save you money in the long run.
All of us will be hosting or hitting a barbecue this summer. When it comes to enjoying the meals of the season, Do Your Park and pick the foods you grill wisely. It’s better for your health and the health of our planet.
Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, eco-expert and author of Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living available at DoYourPart.com. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org