Celebrate National Grilling Month with important tips, new recipes

ST. CHARLES, Ill. – Liven up a family favorite meal or try a new recipe by grilling. It’s important to remember food safety steps for healthy, tasty meals.

“Grilling allows you to add a lot of flavor to proteins and vegetables without a lot of extra oils or fats,” says Nayaab Sattar, University of Illinois Extension SNAP-Education educator. “In addition to nutritious, delicious grilled meals, there is less clean up in the kitchen and no added heat in the house!”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides these tips:

  • When transporting food from the house, keep meat, poultry, and seafood below 40 degrees F. until ready to be added to the grill.

  • Wash hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Wash work surfaces, utensils, and the grill before and after cooking.

  • Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs. The thermometer should read:

    • 145 degrees F for beef, pork, lamb, veal and fish

    • 160 degrees F for hamburgers and other ground meat

    • 165 degrees F for poultry

  • Throw out marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices to avoid cross-contamination. Put cooked meat on a clean plate.

  • Divide leftovers into small portions and place in covered, shallow containers. Freeze or refrigerate within two hours of cooking or within one hour if the temperature is 90 degrees F or above outside. Use leftovers within three to four days of refrigerating.

  • Find a helpful video at https://eat-move-save.extension.illinois.edu/eat/food-safety and more information at https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/bbq-iq.html

“Try this simple grilled recipe idea from the Illinois Nutrition Education Program website,” Sattar says. “Chicken and vegetable kebabs are a simple, yet tasty grilled dish that makes getting lean protein and veggies on your plate a breeze.”


  • Cube one pound of chicken breasts and toss in a marinade of vegetable oil, lemon juice, garlic and black pepper.

  • Refrigerate in a sealed container for at least one hour.

  • Thread the meat onto metal or soaked wood skewers, alternating pieces of chicken with 1-inch pieces of vegetables, such as onions, peppers, zucchini, or squash.

  • Add kebabs to a pre-heated grill. Cook on one side for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn and cook for about 5 minutes longer.

  • Verify the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and place on a new, clean dish.

“This July, celebrate National Grilling Month by taking your cooking outdoors and enjoying the flavor of summer,” says Sattar.

For more grilling recipes and other healthy meal ideas, visit our website at go.illinois.edu/eatmovesave or simply search “eat move save” online.

The healthy choice, isn’t always the easy choice, especially on a limited budget. The Illinois Nutrition Education Programs provide practical tips to help low-income families prepare safe and healthy meals, while staying active each day!



SOURCE: Nayaab Sattar, SNAP-Ed Educator, University of Illinois Extension of DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties

WRITER: Rosie Ralston, Publicity and Program Associate, University of Illinois Extension of DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties