Healthy Grilling Tips
Summer is fast approaching and over the next few months many of us will be firing up our grills, taking advantage of the warm and sunny weather. As cooking methods go, grilling is a relatively healthy option, especially if you use a fat-reducing george foreman grill. However, as with any cooking method, the food you prepare and how you prepare it can turn a potentially healthy meal into a calorie-laden one. Here are some of our favorite healthy grilling ideas.
1. Marinade Your Meat
Marinating meat, fish, or seafood doesn’t just add flavor, it can actually protect you from harmful carcinogens. Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are carcinogenic compounds found in meat, fish, and poultry cooked at high temperatures. Grilled meats cooked at temperatures of 300 degrees fahrenheit or above will often form HCAs. Meat exposed to smoke or charred meat tends to form PAHs. These types of compounds have been found to cause cancer in animals, but scientists are yet to determine if they have the same effect on humans. A recent study found that marinating meat before grilling it significantly reduced the number of HCAs that formed. Scientists conducting the study looked at different types of marinades and the effect these marinades had on the number of HCAs that formed. They found that marinades made with antioxidant rich herbs such as basil, mint, rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, and thyme, were particularly effective at reducing the carcinogenic HCAs found on the grilled meats.
2. Clean The Grill Thoroughly Before Each Use
Cleaning the grill before you use it is a good idea for many reasons. When you clean the grill you remove any buildup of harmful carcinogens left from previous grilling sessions. By removing left over pieces of meat and fat, you are also reducing the chance of a flare up, which can lead to the formation of harmful PAHs.
3. Choose Healthier Meats And Fish
Typically grilled meats such as beef burgers and hot dogs are unfortunately some of the worst things you can grill. Processed meats are often full of saturated fat and high in sodium and cholesterol. Choose healthy options instead like chicken breast or salmon. Chicken breasts can be grilled whole or marinated, cubed and grilled on skewers. Salmon burgers are delicious and full of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon can also be marinated and grilled whole if you prefer the taste of salmon fillets. If you must have your grilled beef, choose a lean cut of steak. Top round steaks or sirloin tip side steaks are good choices.
4. Grill A Variety Of Vegetables
Grilled vegetables are delicious and good for you. Enjoy a variety of flavors by grilling what’s in season. Great choices during late spring and early summer include asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower, onions, zucchini, and red and green peppers. Vegetables can be marinated in the same way as meat and grilled whole or on skewers. If you want something different to a typical grilled burger, try a grilled portobello mushroom. Portobello mushrooms should be marinated and grilled for around 10 minutes until tender.
5. Choose Healthy Sides
When grilling, choose healthy sides to go with your grilled meats. Great options include chopped salads, sweet potatoes, and cold quinoa salads. It’s great to include healthy options as an alternative to the more typical grilled meats, as the fiber in the salads and sweet potatoes will fill you up more quickly, meaning you’ll eat less of the unhealthy stuff.
6. Don’t Drink Your Calories
When the weather is hot, it’s easy to fill up on beers or sugary sodas. Choose healthy but delicious drink options instead like watermelon agua fresca or infused water. Here are 5 simple and delicious soda alternatives and how to make them.
- http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070627124111.htm – Brush On The Marinade, Hold Off The Cancerous Compounds
- http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/cooked-meats – Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk