Healthy Tips for Summer Grilling

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159Summer is in full swing, and that means running through the sprinklers, pool parties, and firing up the grill. Here are a few tips for making your next cookout a little bit healthier.

1. Marinate your meat
When cooking meat at high temperatures like on the grill, substances called Heterocyclic amines, or HCA’s, can form and stick to the muscle tissue, and these HCA’s are known to increase the risk of cancer in the body. By marinating your meat, the chances of these compounds forming are decreased by up to 90%. Marinades that are beer, lemon or vinegar based can stop the HCA’s from adhering to the muscle tissue. Even ready-made marinades form the grocery store can make a difference. Culinary (and medicinal!) herbs such as sage, thyme, oregan and rosemary can also lower the risk. So get out those marinades and herbs!! Have some fun and create your own marinade! Happy grilling!

2. Don’t leave your food out
Foods need to be cooked at the right temperature to keep harmful bacteria away, and need to be cooled so they won’t grow. Cooking your meats at the proper temperatures is crucial. Poultry and ground beef should be cooked at 165 degrees F, while pork and steak should be cooked to 145F. Don’t know how hot it is? Get  food thermometer. You can pick a digital one up for under 10 bucks. Another excuse for a grill gadget!

3. Be careful with raw meat.
Cross contamination (raw meat touching your cooked vegetables for example) is the leading cause of food poisoning. Make sure you use different cutting boards for meat and vegetables, and sanitize the area where your raw meat was prepared. As always, wash your hands thouroughly and often! Use utencils to handle your foods while you cook them.

Happy grilling!!


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