Usually, when you grill out, two things are constant. Burgers and hot dogs are abundant, and someone forgot to buy the ketchup. But have you ever thought about ditching these traditional menu items for something that at one point, used to live in a body of water? Yes, we are talking about fish. This decision may not be the most popular at your summer barbecue, but it sure can be a healthy alternative.

fish-grilled-upmcWe all know that fish is high in protein and low in fat. But it’s also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which help maintain heart health by lowering blood pressure. Omegas 3’s also are known to be beneficial to healthy brain function and development. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish per week as part of a heart-healthy diet. But, that’s not all this healthy alternative to ground beef has to offer. It’s also rich in phosphorus and calcium, and is an excellent source of minerals, including iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.

RELATED: Is Shellfish Healthy for You?

So, is the argument over? Fish is good for you, and it might be wise to replace the burgers and dogs now and then with some great-tasting fillets. Your heart will thank you later. And, one thing that makes it better – is the grill. The direct, high-heat cooks it quickly and locks in the flavor without removing much moisture. The end result can be quite magnificent.

Here are some quick tips from UPMC BodyChangers on how to properly cook your fish on the grill.

  • Marinate. All fish taste better with a flavorful marinade. Just place it with some oil, herbs, or spices in a bag and place in the refrigerator for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Brush the grill with oil. The last thing you want is your fish sticking to your cooking surface and falling apart. So not only should you brush it with oil – unless your marinade includes oil – you should also brush the grates. Then once it’s on the grill, let it sear for at least two to three minutes before flipping. If you flip too soon, if can stick and tear apart.
  • Make sure your grill is very hot. If you put it on a warm grill, you will get bad results (i.e. sticking and falling apart). If the grill is screaming hot, the fish will sear immediately.
  • Don’t grill for too long. It will cook in a matter of minutes. So don’t put your fish on the grill and then go talk to your neighbor… or else you’ll definitely be ordering take out.

Never Miss a Beat!

Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!

Message and data rates may apply. Text the word STOP to opt out and HELP for help. Click here to view the privacy and terms.

Here’s to a safe and healthy grilling season, with fish included, of course.

What’s your favorite thing to grill in the summer? Will you be grilling fish?

About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. We are dedicated to providing Life Changing Medicine to our communities.