A Healthier Way of Grilling

A Healthier Way of Grilling

What''s the word on grilling: Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

After all, one of the golden rules of eating healthy at restaurants is tochoose "grilled" foods over "fried" choices. That''s becausegrilled food is generally a healthier choice -- there''s no battercoating or dripping grease.

Besides, there''s something about the act of grilling that just makes foodlook and taste fantastic. Is it the smoky flavor, the fun flavors of marinades,the grill lines that form on the food, or the fresh taste that comes fromcooking something over high heat for a short amount of time? Try all of theabove!

I hate to burst your "isn''t-grilling-fun?" bubble, but the way I seeit, there are two nutritional downsides to grilling.

  • Many Americans end up eating very high-fat meats and sausages when theyfire up the barbie -- pumping yet more calories, fat, saturated fat, andcholesterol into their diets.
  • Then there''s the matter of a couple of potentially cancer-causingcompounds: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines(HCAs). PAHs form when fat from the meat drips onto the hot coals or grillelement. They''re then deposited on the food courtesy of flame-ups and risingsmoke. Unfortunately, that yummy charring that forms on meat can contain PAHsas well. HCAs, meanwhile, are produced when red meat, poultry and fish meethigh-heat cooking, like grilling or broiling.

But don''t despair, grill lovers -- a new, healthy way to grill ispossible!

6 Keys to Healthy Grilling

Follow these tips, and you can grill without guilt.

1. Grill Fruits and Vegetables

Grilling fruits and vegetables is a great idea, whether or not you''regrilling meat or fish to go with them. We all need to eat more fruits andvegetables, and this is an appealing way to serve them. I probably don''t needto remind you that eating fruits and vegetables benefits the body in so manyways -- reducing your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, obesity, and sometypes of cancer.

But here''s the best part: PAHs and HCAs don''t form on grilled fruits andvegetables. Plus, if you are having grilled meat, it''s a great idea to getantioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables in the same meal.

Some fruits and vegetables that are great to grill:

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Apple
  • Pear

2. Grill Smart, Grill Lean

When you''re grilling meat, limit the amount of fat that drips on the coalsby starting with lean cuts trimmed of visible fat and skin. If you put a verylean cut of beef or pork, or skinless chicken, onto the grill, you''re off to ahealthy start. (Following Tip No. 3 can help make most lean cuts more tenderand tasty, too.)

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