You might be thinking about firing up the grill for a backyard barbecue or picnic. But don’t get the briquettes or propane burner flaming hot just yet.
Munching your way through char-grilled meat or fish isn’t the best way to go.
Why? Grilling beef, pork, fish, and poultry at high temperatures can cause an unhealthy reaction in the meat. It’s a recipe for heterocyclic amines (HCAs) linked to cancer.
Here’s what happens:
- The fat drop. When fat drops down during grilling and burns, it goes back into the food.
- Char time. This is how food gets charred during grilling.
- The danger zone. It’s also how HCAs are formed.
But that doesn’t mean you have to forget about summer-season grilling.
Here are 4 ways to make grilling healthier:
1. Use a grill in the oven
If you want to grill something, use a grill in the oven where you can grill from above. Grilling from above helps prevent charring and HCAs.
2. Choose plant-based burgers
Use a barbecue grill. But instead of meat, try grilling plant-based burgers such as black-bean burgers or garden burgers. These are less likely to form harmful HCAs from grilling than meats.
3. Grill fruits and vegetables
Here’s another barbecue-friendly option. Make kebabs with your favorites fruits or veggies like:
- Potato wedges
- Egg plant
- Pineapple chunks.
- Or grill corn on the cob wrapped in foil.
Fruits and vegetables don’t form HCAs. Just cook at a moderate temperature and avoid burning or blackening of food.
4. Season foods with herbs and spices (instead of sauces high in calories)
Or marinate foods before grilling. Research shows this can help prevent HCAs from forming.
Discover the benefits of grilling at home
If you’ve been thinking about eating at home more often, give healthy grilling a try.
Research shows that cooking at home can help you eat healthier foods, control calories, lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight.
You hungry? Fire up the grill. Turn down the heat. Cook your food a little longer, and enjoy a home-cooked meal.
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