As you gather around the grill this summer, don’t let your health go up in smoke. Consider these six tips to have a healthy cookout!
1. Clean the grill. Whether you’re cooking out at a public park or on your own patio, you need to make sure you have a clean surface to grill on. To minimize exposure to carcinogens and bacteria, use a brush to scrape away any remnants of charred or uncooked food before you start grilling.
2. Marinate your meat. A good marinade not only makes your meat or fish juicy and delicious, it can also cut down on the amount of carcinogens produced during the grilling process. Not sure what to use? Grab some olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to start. If the marinade has touched raw meat, be sure to discard it after use.
3. Trim the fat. Make sure to trim the fat, even from lean cuts of meat or fish. As it’s cooked, fat gives off potentially hazardous smoke that contains carcinogens known as PAHs. You can also prevent this smoke from penetrating your food by wrapping it in aluminum foil and poking small holes that allow fat to drain out.
4. Cut down on portion size. Instead of making massive burgers and steaks, grill smaller portions of meat ““ they will cook faster (meaning less exposure to carcinogens) and help you cut back on calories!
5. Don’t overcook. Keep a close eye on your food and turn it often to avoid overcooking or charring, which can cause the release of chemical carcinogens known as HCAs. Cut off and discard any charred or burned portions before serving.
6. Throw in some veggies. Don’t be afraid to toss some veggies on the grill. Onions, peppers, squash, mushrooms, asparagus and corn are easy to grill and make a great (and healthy) accompaniment to your main course.