5 Ways to Make Your Barbecue Healthier

You can enjoy grilling outdoors without sacrificing your health. Follow these tips to reduce your cancer risk.

Health Monitor Staff

What you grill and how you grill it can make a big difference when you're aiming for a healthy meal, says the American Institute for Research. When meat is cooked until it's well-done or charred, cancer-causing compounds can form. Follow these tips for reducing your risk without sacrificing flavor.

Mind Your Marinade
Create your own marinade using your favorite herbs, vinegar and lemon juice. Place the meat in the marinade, then put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Marinating will help reduce the formation of cancer-causing compounds, possibly because acids and herbs contain cancer-fighting antioxidants.

Slow Cooking Time
Lower the flame to keep burning and charring to a minimum. Trim fat, cook meat in the center of the grill, and turn it frequently to avoid releasing juices that can drip and cause flare-ups.

Grill Lean Meats
Look for those with "loin" in the name, like sirloin and pork tenderloin. Also, choose round steaks and roasts (eye round, bottom round, filet mignon and flank steak) and ground beef labeled at least 95% lean. Or opt for chicken or fish.

Precook Your Meat (Partially)
The National Cancer Institute recommends precooking meat in the microwave or oven or on the stove for a few minutes to limit exposure to the high heat of the grill.

Choose a Smart Side Dish
Loading up on cancer-fighting fruits and veggies may help combat the damaging effects of overdone meat. Plus, cancer-causing compounds don't form on them. Try asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, peaches or pears. 


April 2014