5 Tips for Healthier Barbecuing

Chances are your grill will be working overtime this weekend, churning out burgers, hot dogs, and plan-friendly chicken. And while grilling foods can be a healthy, low-fat cooking method (check out MediLiving Special Edition for some great ideas), it can also be dangerous. High-heat grilling can deposit potentially cancer-causing compounds, called HCAs and PAHs, on your meat, jeopardizing your health. How do you reduce the risk?

  1. Choose leaner cuts of meat. The leaner the cut, the less chance of those smoky flare-ups that coat meat with possible carcinogens. Try grilling skinless chicken, burgers made with extra-lean ground beef, and sirloin steak.
  2. Marinate. Look for thin-style marinades that contain vinegar, lemon juice, and spices such as rosemary and turmeric. These ingredients have been shown to reduce the development of HCAs on meat by 40-99 percent.
  3. Microwave. Giving your meats a whirl around the microwave for a minute or two before barbecuing can reduce the formation of HCAs by some 90 percent. Be sure to pat meat dry before tossing on the grill.
  4. Use lower temperatures. You may have to cook the meat longer and get a bit less of that charbroiled taste, but cooking with a lower heat is another way to bring down the chance of HCAs and PAHs forming.
  5. Flip frequently. Because no one spot is exposed to the heat for too long, frequently flipping your meat from side to side can prevent HCAs from developing.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be an exhaustive examination of the subject matter nor a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your primary care physician or healthcare provider before beginning any diet or exercise program.

Active Medi-Weightloss® patients should consult the experts at their location on whether the foods and recipes mentioned are appropriate for their phase of the program.