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National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics Nutrition Fact Sheet

As summer settles in, Americans rely on backyard barbecues for meal preparation - and for good reason. Grilling adds sizzle to healthful eating and is a fun way to enjoy a variety of foods. Preparing foods on the grill enhances the flavors of garden-fresh produce, as well as the savory taste of lean meat, poultry, and fish.

Preparing lean meat is a breeze on the barbecue.

A low-fat cooking method like grilling (or broiling when you need to take a rain check) is an easy way to trim fat. Lean meats stay lean since, unlike frying, grilling allows fat to drip away as meat cooks. To help keep your outdoor options lean:

Start off lean. Pork loin chops and tenderloin, skinless chicken breasts, lean cuts of beef, and fish are good choices for the grill. When buying any lean cuts of meat, look for the words "loin" or "round" in the name, such as pork tenderloin or beef eye of round.

Trim the fat. Trimming or removing visible fat prior to cooking reduces total fat per serving by nearly 50 percent.

Develop an eye for size. Portion control is just as important as buying and preparing lean. The Food Guide Pyramid recommends 5 to 7 ounces from the meat group each day, which can be eaten as two 3-ounce servings or as one larger portion. A cooked, trimmed 3-ounce serving of meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards.

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