Grilling the Healthy Way

As warmer weather approaches and people prepare for outdoor activities, it will inevitably include grilling.  The best thing about grilling is that there is no batter coating or dripping grease, not to mention food that not only looks good, but also tastes great.

Healthy grilling depends on the type of food you grill.  When fat from the meat drips into the hot coals or grill, the smoke that forms has Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are associated with cancer.  The charred exterior of the meat (well-done) has Heterocyclic Amines (HCA) that are also associated with causing cancer.

Here are some smart ways you can enjoy grilling while making sure to keep it as healthy and nutritious as possible.

Grill Smart


  1. Foil
    • Throwing foil under the meat catches the juice, makes sure you’re not grilling over direct heat
  1. Grill Fruits & Vegetables
    • Rich in antioxidants & do not produce PAHs and HCAs
  1. Go lean
    • Limit the amount of fat that drips on the coals by cutting down the fat, skin and choosing lean meats over high fat ones
  1. Marinate
    • Studies show that marination before grilling has reduced the formation of HCAs by as much as 92% to 99%
    • Use marinades with less oil
    • Don’t baste food during grilling
    • Marinate at least 1-2 hours
  1. Cut down on Grilling time
    • Choose smaller portions of meats to grill or pre-cook and do finish touch at grill
  1. Flipping
    • Flipping food more frequently may prevent HCAs from forming
    • Flipping rather than piercing it will help reduce juice spillage into charcoal
  1. Skewer it up
  • Cuts down on grilling time by using smaller pieces

Like everything else when it comes to nutrition, remember to grill in moderation.  There is no exact amount of how much HCA and PAH causes cancer but it’s important to be mindful of what you grill and always grill smart.

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