Everyone loves grilling outside in the warm summer months, but do it too much, specifically cooking the wrong types of food or in the wrong style, and your health can end up much worse off for it. That’s why we decided to make a list of healthy habits to keep in mind during outdoor grill season.
- Avoid Overcooking your Meats:
- Overcooking your meats to “well-done” might be how you prefer your meat to taste, but it’s far from a healthy decision. Consuming overcooked, or charred meats, has been linked to higher a likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Charred meats are very carcinogenic, but they also interfere with processes which regulate inflammation and insulin sensitivity.
- Think Outside the Box
- Everyone loves to grill, but too often, we fall into the trap of solely grilling burgers and steaks. Try to think beyond just red meat. Chicken, pork, and fish are all great alternatives. Certainly, feel free to enjoy red meat at your leisure, but everything is better in moderation. All three of the above alternatives are healthier individually than red meat, and having a more balanced diet is never a bad idea.
- Include a Nice Marinade
- Coating the meats in a nice marinade made of oil, water, vinegar, and anti-oxidant rich spices, such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano, about 30 minutes prior to grilling, can prevent heterocyclic amines (HCA), which has been proven to lead to cancer. This marinade can protect the meats while grilling, and in turn, protect your health. One other tip is to wrap the meat in tinfoil, which has also been proven to reduce the formation of HCA’s.
- Try to cook different style foods. If cooking chicken, make sure you have grilled chicken more often than fried. If you enjoy very well-done meat, try to switch things up and enjoy some that isn’t charred. And incorporate vegetables into your meal. Most of us aren’t big fans of vegetables, myself included, but there ware ways to make them tastier. One of the best desserts I’ve ever had is grilled pineapple with a dusting of cinnamon on top, and it pairs perfectly with almost any meat based entree (trust me, I’ve tried). Shish kebabs are another solid way to include a few more veggies into your diet in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re forcing yourself to eat them.