8 Tips For Healthier Grilling This Summer suggested by Grill Heat Aid
Whether you're grilling up juicy burgers, steaks, brats or your special barbecued chicken or shrimp, the food is sure to be a hit as long as you don't burn it — and as long as you don't accidentally make anyone sick. Cooking outside brings some special challenges and means taking a few extra precautions.
Tips #1. Marinate Your Meats
Marinating your food not only enhance the flavors, but it also brings health benefits as well. You might have heard of the saying that barbecuing or grilling your food increases the risk of cancer. Well, to be more specific, it is the process of cooking your food over high temperature that increases the risk.
Cooking at high temperatures produces cancer-causing chemicals known as heterocyclic amines aka. HCAs. This problem is not unique to grilling, it does happen to broiled meat too.
This is where marinating your food helps. Studies have shown that marinating has helped to significantly reduce the production of HCAs as compared to the contrary. By significant, we are talking about up to 99%!
Tips #2. Use Less Butter
Many of us like to smear that thick chunk of butter on our food. It tastes better, richer and gives that oily context. However, it is still a kind of saturated fat and consuming in excess can increase a person’s cholesterol level. While you can easily BBQ some other time, you can’t get your health as easily.
Consider alternatives to butter such as avocados, olive oil or sunflower seed oil if you are looking for that greasy texture.
Tips #3. Use Gas Grill Instead Of Charcoal
Some medical doctors have suggested that grilling over charcoal can produce cancer-causing chemicals. Specifically, they are referring to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are contained in the smoke.
As meats cook, the layer of fat burns off and dripped onto the coals beneath and create PAHs. These PAHs is not only clinging on to your food and clothes, but it is also coating the insides of the lung, which is by any measure unhealthy.
That said, grilling over charcoal is still my preferred choice over gas. But for those healthier folks, consider gas or electric grills. Not to worry, it doesn’t take the fun out of BBQ parties.
Tips #4. Buy Leaner Cuts
It is true that fattier cuts of meat are preferred in these parties. But you will do well to include leaner cuts of meat as well. While leaner cuts may not be the best type of meat for a cheeseburger, it is without a doubt, healthier.
Tips #5. Go Easy On The Sauces
Walking through the aisle at the mart, you can see rows upon rows of condiments dedicated to dressing up your food. However, if you looked at the label on these sauces, the truth is condiments often contained loads of sugar and salt. While it does add flavors to your food, it does wreck hell in your body if consumed in excess.
Consider making your own condiments as opposed to buying those off the shelf as you will have more control of what goes into it. And for the record, BBQ does not require BBQ sauce.
Tips #6. Seafood Over Meat
If you recall, we have touch on HCAs and PHAs which are cancer-causing. The good news is fish proteins are less likely to produce the said chemicals. So, consider swapping that red meat to seafood. Shrimp, scallops, eels, salmon, and trout are all amazing on that grates
Tips #7. Grill More Vegetables and Fruits
Oh, did I mention vegetables and fruits? These may not be the first thing that came to mind when it comes to grilling. But, this is no doubt the most important in healthier grilling. Veggies do not have fats and it means lesser calories and cholesterol.
Also, since they are often grilled in indirect heat, they retain most of the nutrients. Vegetable kebab made with green pepper, red pepper and onions taste fabulous as well. They also offer many health benefits which you cannot find from a steak.
Some fruits that you can consider to grill are tomatoes (yes, it is a fruit), cherries, mangoes or pineapples.
Tips #8. Pre-cook Your Meat
A well-studied trick is to cook your meat in the microwave first before grilling it. By doing this, you will reduce the time the food spends on the grill, and all those cancer-causing compounds will be reduced significantly. This method will also get your that grilled flavor that we all crave.
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