What about avoiding flare-ups as much as possible while you’re BBQing?
Paying attention while you’re BBQing helps to lessen the likelihood of flare-ups, intense smoking, and charring is helpful too, which can result in healthier meals.
What about marinating our foods prior to BBQing it? Does that have any impact?
Yes, definitely. Certain types of ingredients used in marinating foods can really impact the formation of carcinogens.
Marinate foods like meat in olive oil and lemon juice-based marinades. Research shows that these two items can reduce the formation of the cancer-causing compounds by up to 99 percent while cooking. Not to mention that they tenderize the meat, add great flavor, and help keep it moist during cooking.
Scientists at the Food Safety Consortium project at Kansas State University have discovered that herbs in a particular family used in marinades drastically reduce the formation of heterocyclic amines. These herbs include: basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage. Simply use one or more of these herbs, preferably fresh, in a marinade prior to and during cooking. Fortunately, they add tremendous flavor so most people won’t even know you’re making they’re BBQed food healthier.
Related: 5 Marinades for Grilled Vegetables
What about barbecued vegetables? Are they a healthy option?
Yes, as long as you avoid overcooking them. The longer they cook the more certain vitamins like vitamin C and B-complex vitamins break down. So don’t overcook them. Also, avoid eating any charred parts of the vegetables.
One of the easiest ways to make BBQing healthier is to add vegetables as much as possible. Making kebabs is a great way to do this. By alternating lean meat and vegetables, the veggies will not only add flavor, they’ll also help to keep the meat moist and add fiber and nutrients.
Related: Classic Grilled Veggies
Does keeping your grill clean prior to cooking help as well?
Definitely. It’s important to keep your grill clean prior to every use. Not only is it more appetizing to eat food that’s been cooked on a clean grill, but you’ll be lessening the amount of char you consume. The charred parts of food can cause free radical formation in your body and since free radicals are linked with premature aging, disease, and tissue damage, it’s best to reduce your exposure as much as possible.
Do you have any final advice about healthy grilling?
Yes, I love BBQed food as much as the next person. So, I think it’s important to remember that you don’t have to give up BBQed food if you’re trying to eat healthy and follow a healthy lifestyle. You can have your grilled food and enjoy it too, along with your health by following the simple tips I mentioned like choosing lean meat (if you’re eating meat at all), marinating food in olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs and adding more veggies to the grill.