Keeping Your Cookout Healthy

Summer is here and the grills are going, especially because Father’s Day is coming up!

While for many grilling outside is a summer essential, cancer most definitely isn’t. Unfortunately, if meat is grilled improperly it can produce cancer-promoting agents called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). HCAs can form when meat that is from muscle is cooked at high temperatures. PAHs are formed when fat is burned onto the flame, rising in smoke and clinging to the meat. Luckily, there are easy and simple ways to reduce the production of these two harmful agents when grilling meat. Here are some tips…

Take seriously cleaning your grill after and before use

  • Clean your grill after each use with bristle and rag so that residual food does not continue to cook in the future –  food will be healthier and your grill will look much nicer!
  • Before grilling, inspect and wipe down your grill grates with a damp cloth
  • After grilling and cooling, lift up the grates and collect any food that may have fallen into the grill or near the burners

Try to avoid direct “double stacking” of meats on racks

  • Seek to not have the “top” meat drip fat down to the meat below

TRY NOT TO CHAR OR OVERCOOK YOUR MEAT

  • To avoid this, do not place the meat directly over the flame of the grill
  • Consider placing tinfoil under your meat for a portion of the grill time to avoid direct flame
  • Trim fat and remove skin
  • Use a marinade with antioxidants like rosemary – marinating your meat can block the formation of HCAs because marinades tend to contain antioxidants
  • Focus on grilling lighter, leaner meats such as chicken, fish or turkey
  • Use an oil with a high smoke point such as Eniva’s Heart Healthy Cooking Oil so that the nutritional properties of the oil and food are not compromised

 

Go heavy on the vegetables! 

  • Don’t stray from lots of veggies for summer meals, especially when grilling. Vegetables contain many health-promoting phytonutrients.  They taste great on the grill and the BEST NEWS –  they don’t form cancer-causing PAHs and HCAs when charred!

 

Have fun and be well!

The Eniva Team