Summer is perfect for firing up the grill and enjoying some great food with even better company. BBQ and outdoor grilled food are usually abundant, with plenty of burgers, hotdogs, and bread being passed around.
But what if you want something a little healthier?
Grilled fish is a great healthy alternative to regular processed meat burgers and hotdogs, especially during those summertime barbecues. This is because it is high in protein and low in fat (apart from those all-important omega-3 fatty acids). These can help to keep your heart healthy and improve brain and cognitive function and development. This is why omega-3 fatty acids are often advertised for growing children.
The American Heart Association suggests that everyone should consume at least 2 servings of fish per week in order to maintain a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle. Consuming fish on a regular basis will also provide your body with additional nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, iodine, and potassium.
Is grilled fish good for weight loss?
Opting for grilled fish is always going to be better for you than grilling a burger, or any other red meat. A recent study conducted by the Journal of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases revealed that eating fish is a far healthier alternative to eating other meat sources, even those that are considered “lean” or “low in fat.”
They also revealed that eating fish on a regular basis can help to promote faster weight loss. They even found that people who solely ate fish as a meat source (pescatarians) in an 8-week time frame recorded a more dramatic weight loss than those who ate other meats.
As we already know, fish is packed with those all-important fatty acids that keep us healthy. However, it’s important to keep in mind that fish has a lower protein content than many other types of meat and animal-derived foods.
While some researchers believe that eating fish is likely to help you feel fuller for longer than other meat, some fish varieties have a high-fat content. So, we recommend checking this before grilling.
Is grilled fish healthier than fried?
Both pan and deep frying cooking methods involve hot pot temperature cooking. Deep frying methods involve submerging in a large amount of fat, while pan-frying uses a smaller amount of fat in a skillet or pot.
When frying, the fish will absorb some of the fat and increase its content. Cooking using vegetable oil in specific have a high risk of contents of inflammatory Omega-6s.
Additionally, frying your fish can strip it of its nutrients. For example, hot pan-frying can destroy the amount of beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids by 70%-80%. A high temperature of frying will also cause harmful compounds such as HAs and PAHs and AGEs or Advanced Glycation End products.
If you want to fry fish, pan-frying is better than deep-frying, and remember to use a healthy oil like olive oil.
How to make grilled fish tasty
Many people choose to avoid tossing their fish onto a grill, as there is a common belief that grilled fish must taste bland and plain.
While this is certainly sometimes the case with unseasoned grilled or steamed fish, thankfully, there are a few techniques and small steps you can take to prepare grilled fish that’s packed full of flavor.
Type of Fish
Not every fish variety is suitable for grilling or broiling, and the type of fish you select can have a huge impact on the taste. According to culinary experts, tuna, snapper, and salmon are the best fish varieties to cook on a grill.
Tuna doesn’t require marinating, just a simple salt and pepper rub will do the trick. Snapper is fresh and light, making it perfect for an acidic or lemony marinade. Salmon responds well to high temperatures on the grill, and it’ll only require a couple of minutes on each side.
Oil Your Grill
After purchasing your favorite variety of fish, it’s time to fire it up. However, to prevent your fish from sticking to the grill and inevitably falling apart, it’s a good idea to brush the grill grates down with oil as well as the fish itself.
Once it’s on the grill, allow it to sear for at least 2 minutes before flipping. Avoid flipping your fish too soon, as this can cause it to stick and tear apart.
The way in which you cook your fish and how long you cook it can impact both the taste and the nutritional value. It’s recommended to keep cooking times as short as possible when cooking on a grill. You can do this by either selecting quick-cooking protein such as fish and cutting it into small chunks to make kebabs.
Alternatively, you can grill the meat on the grill for a minute or two to get some initial flavor and a few grill marks, then remove and finish cooking in the oven at a low temperature.
Avoid Burning and Charring
When cooking fish and other proteins until well-done on a grill gives time for HCAs to form, and also increases the rate of browning on the outside of your fish and risk of charring. Both browning and charring increase PAH production, too.
We recommend allowing any flames to die down before placing your fish onto the grill and consider one of the speedier cooking methods mentioned above. Any burnt or charred parts of the meat should be removed and thrown away.
Don’t Use Lighter Fluid
Gas grills are usually a piece of cake to fire up. However, charcoal grills are great for adding flavor, especially to unseasoned fish.
It’s important not to be tempted to add any extra chemicals or accelerants such as lighter fluid or pre-soaked briquettes. Instead, opt for a scrumpled-up newspaper and coal.