Summer is here and “the livin’ is easy,” so break out the grill and get ready to prepare delicious meals. There are some important tips to keep in mind, to ensure that your meals are not only delicious but also as nutritious as possible.
Cooking beef, chicken, pork or fish at high temperatures produces unhealthy chemicals called heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, which have been linked to colon and breast cancer. Grill, don’t char, your foods. Charred meat is high in HCAs and PHAs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Trim the fat before grilling, and cook over medium to medium-low heat to help prevent charring.
Let’s go over what I call the “3 M’s” of healthy grilling:
- Marinate - Marinating meat in a mixture of vinegar and citrus juice for as little as 30 minutes in the refrigerator before you place it on the grill significantly decreases production of HCAs and PHAs. When you’re done marinating “toss the sauce” – never re-use marinades.
- Microwave - Microwave the meat on high for 30-60 seconds, just enough time to dry up a little of the juice, thereby reducing the chance of flame-ups and black smoke.
- Meat thermometer - Use one. Use an accurate thermometer that you can calibrate to 32 F in a glass of ice water. Insert table with temperatures from the USDA link at the bottom of the page.
A certain amount of charring may be inevitable when grilling, however; simply remove the charred portion and throw it away. So be a smart griller this summer, ensuring not only the best tasting foods for you and your loved ones, but the safest ones, too.
I’m Dr. Russ for Harris Teeter where your health is important to us. Be well.
Safe food handling tips from the USDA
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **