Nutrition: Healthy Grilling

Healthy options for backyard barbecues.

As the weather warms up, people break out their grills and invite friends and family over for summertime feasts. Grilling is a great way to add delicious flavor to food. It can also be a healthy way to cook as long as you follow a couple instructions to minimize carcinogens and added fats. Here are the top five tips we have for the upcoming grilling season!

  1. Marinate. Meats marinated with oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices can have up to 88 percent less carcinogens than non-marinated meats. Choose antioxidant rich herbs like rosemary, basil, sage, or oregano—not only are they good for you, they also add great flavor to your proteins.
  2. Eat your veggies! The grill isn’t just for meats. Vegetables such as corn, green onions, peppers, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are great on the grill. Toss the veggies with a little olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and you’re all set.
  3. Choose different meats. Burgers and dogs aren’t the only options. Depart from the typical barbecue fare by opting for leaner options like turkey or chicken burgers. Marinated fish or shrimp skewers are also excellent lean protein options that deliver great taste and less fat.
  4. Avoid flare-ups and hot spots. Most grills have hot spots and flare-ups from the fat drippings. While a little bit of char is unavoidable, the blackened and burnt parts of meat contain many carcinogens. Keep an eye on the grill and remove any charred portions of meat before serving.
  5. Grill your favorite fruits. Pineapple, peaches, watermelon, or figs are all well suited to a little time over the coals. Grilling fruit brings out many different flavors as the heat from the grill caramelizes sugars while the fruit remains juicy. Make sure to brush all your fruits with a little bit of oil before grilling. Keep an eye on them because fruit cooks quickly!

When you’re ready to bring out the grill this season, make sure to follow these five tips to have a delicious and nutritious cookout!

Eric Chen is the former nutritionist at the WAC.

WAC Nutritionist Eric Chen

More Athletics & Wellness

Weight loss and you
Moving Well to Manage Arthritis
How stress impacts our health