With grilling season in full force, it's the perfect time to keep a few key points in mind.  

First, when it comes to chicken, there's an important safety consideration to be aware of. 

Second, sauces and marinades are often the secret ingredient behind many dishes and comes in many forms and flavors – sweet, sour, tangy, salty, you name it. Let’s agree: a life without sauce is one that’s not fully lived.

And while they bring out the flavor in dishes, commercial BBQ versions can be packed with sugar. The same goes for some  pasta sauces and even some salad dressings.

The 5 following tips will help you stay safe and keep your meals just a little more healthy.

  1. Don’t wash your raw chicken. You might think you’re protecting yourself, but washing chicken can let the juices contaminate other areas in your kitchen, according to the CDC.
  2. Most people shy away from marinating meat when they’re in a pinch to prepare a meal, but marinating meat even just for 20 minutes to two hours can make a big difference. It’s a small investment that can go a long way.
  3. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid adding sugar in your sauces and marinades. But if you’re looking for other low calorie options, try stevia.
  4. If you’re looking for a leaner meat recipe, opt for marinating your protein over dipping it in calorie-heavy sauces.
  5. There’s a healthier alternative to traditional ranch dressing — try using yogurt instead of mayonnaise.

Find a dietitian near you

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And now, to the recipes: 

BBQ sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons brown sugar (or any sugar alternative)

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 clove of minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

Instructions

Mix all of the ingredients together. If you apply during grilling, wait until the meat is almost done and finish over low heat. A hot fire will turn BBQ black in a flash.

Steak marinade

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

Mix all of the ingredients together and marinade steak for an hour or two.

Seafood marinade

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup water

1/4  cup lemon juice

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon of cracked peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco (or some other hot sauce alternative)

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together and marinate the seafood of your choice for about 30 minutes.