What does summer mean for you – beach, camping, backyard cookouts? I love a good BBQ, but must admit that it doesn’t always mean the healthiest meal. Today let’s talk about some healthy grilling tips!
The common BBQ menu can be part of the trouble. Besides an oversized portion of meat, the majority of BBQs seem to include a heavy helping of high-glycemic carbs (think potatoes, baked beans, etc).
The Next Challenge is in Consuming Charred Meat
The process of cooking over an open flame creates chemical reactions that can turn otherwise healthy food into a health hazard.
Some of these reactions produce:
Heterocyclic amines (HCA) which can change DNA.
Advanced Glycation End-products (AGE) are naturally found in food, but cooking fatty meats over high heat creates even more, which negatively effect on metabolic health.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) are created when meat is cook over high heat and the fat drips into the fire. They are linked to GI and lung cancer as well as leukemia – not good.
None of these sounds like tasty additions to our BBWs, so let’s talk about how to minimize the risks. Let’s talk about healthy grilling!
Use Indirect Heat
Rather than placing your meat right over the hottest flame or coals, put the coals to one side and the meat where it isn’t over the coals. It may take longer to cook your meat, but your result will be more healthful.
Use Marinades and Rubs!
Marinating and dry rubbing meat before cooking is a great way to reduce harmful compounds, add great flavor and healthy grilling. Here’s what the science shows:
- Marinating meat in beer or wine reduces carcinogens by 40%.
- Research published in the Journal of Food Science shows that a marinade made with garlic, thyme, and sage reduced carcinogens by 88%.
- A 2010 study published in the same journal found that rosemary extract reduced carcinogens by 90%!
Incorporating medicinal herbs in your marinades or dry rub used before grilling your meat makes a huge difference in your wellness.
PreCook Your Meats
Cook your meats in a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or using the sous vide method to cook them at a lower temperature first and use the grill for the final minutes and added flavor.
Adjust Your Grilling Choices
By incorporating chicken or fish and lots of vegetables. Sweet potatoes can be cooked on the grill after being sliced and lightly coated with olive oil. Shish Kabobs can be made with meat and veggies. There are plenty of ways to reinvent what goes on the grill and to healthy grilling!
Do You Grill?
Heating up the grill is a great way to keep the kitchen cooler in the summer and enjoy time with family and friends this summer. I’d love to hear what you do for variety and health in your grilled meals. What are your healthy grilling tips? Leave a comment below!