A Healthier Way to Grill
6 ways to avoid the pitfalls of barbecuing
3. Marinate, Marinate, Marinate
You've gotta love the idea of infusing flavor into meats, fruits, and
vegetables by soaking them in a tasty marinade. Some favorite marinade
ingredients include wines, vinegars, lemon or lime juice, low-sodium soy sauce,
honey, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices. Use fat-free or low-fat marinades on
your grilled meats, fish, and poultry to limit the fat that drips on the coals.
The simple act of marinating before grilling has been shown to reduce the
formation of HCAs by as much as 92% to 99% in some studies.
Keep these marinating tips in mind:
- When choosing bottled marinades or making your own, look for products or
recipes that contain olive or canola oil (and that only use a little oil).
- Refrigerate any foods that are marinating longer than 1/2 hour.
- Don't baste your food during grilling with the liquid the meat was
marinating in (this passes raw meat juices to your cooked meat). Before you add
the meat, set aside some of your marinade for this purpose.
- Meats and poultry should marinate at least 1-2 hours; fish and vegetables
generally only need to marinate for an hour.
4. Cut Down on Grilling Time
Grill smaller portions of meat, poultry, and fish so they cook faster and
spend less time on the grill. Another trick is to precook the meat, fish, and
poultry in the oven or microwave, then finish cooking on the grill.
5. Flip It -- Flip It Good
Flipping food frequently may help prevent the formation of HCAs, according
to recent research using hamburger patties. To turn meat without piercing it
(which releases juices that drip onto the coals), use tongs or spatulas instead
of a fork.
6. Skewer It
A fun way to cut down on grilling time is to thread small pieces of meat or
fish on a skewer. Scallops and shrimp are naturals for skewers, too. I like to
alternate pieces of meat, chicken, or seafood with bell pepper and onion
pieces, zucchini slices, cherry tomatoes, and/or small mushrooms.
Don't have skewers? No problemo. I love to use branches of rosemary as my
skewers. They infuse a hint of rosemary into the food as it cooks -- not to
mention the beautiful presentation it makes.
Fire Up the Barbie
Now that you've learned some healthy grilling secrets, here are three
lightened-up recipes to try.
Teriyaki Portabella Mushroom Burger with Garlic Mayonnaise
Journal as: 1 veggie burger OR 2 slices bread + 1/2 cup
vegetable without added fat + 1 teaspoon mayonnaise.
2 portabella mushrooms (about 3 1/2 inches wide), cleaned and stems
2 tablespoons bottled teriyaki sauce
2 large, thin slices reduced-fat Jack cheese (1-2 ounces)
2 multigrain or whole-wheat hamburger buns
2 leaves lettuce
4 tomato slices