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5 Tips for Healthier BBQing This Summer

Inspire Health Event Calendar July 22, 2014

(Barbecue image: Jeroen Kransen

Who doesn’t love a nice BBQ in the summer? The warm weather and a day in the water just screams “Have a BBQ!” to me. But, BBQing isn’t exactly the healthiest cooking option available and there are a few things to keep in mind.

There are some nasty chemicals produced when we grill meats, especially fatty meats. Known carcinogens, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are formed when meat is cooked over high heat on an open flame. The good news is, there are ways to dramatically reduce the amount of HCAs and PAHs formed when cooking.

How to grill in a healthier way:
1. Avoid processed meats, like sausage and hotdogs. Choose instead grass-fed/grass-finished or organic meats. They naturally contain great anti-cancer fats like CLA and butyric acid.

2. Avoid charring, avoid smoke – this is where you’ll find those pesky HCAs and PAHs. Instead, lower the heat or use indirect heat (flame on opposite side of the grill).

3. Scrub your grill – the buildup of charred meat on a dirty grill can transfer HCAs onto your delicious organic delight. Scrub your grill well, almost until it looks like new again.

4. Eat your broccoli! Eating cruciferous veggies greatly reduces the health effects of the HCAs and PAHs on the body. AND! BBQing your veggies (any veggies, BBQ’d asparagus is a fav of mine) don’t create any HCAs or PAHs. Steak and broccoli (more broccoli than steak, of course) makes for a great meal!

5. Marinate – not only does it improve the flavour of the meat, marinating for 4 hours prior to cooking also significantly reduces carcinogen formation when cooking. Use some oil (extra virgin olive oil), spice (garlic, or rosemary), sour (lemon or vinegar), and sweet (honey or maple syrup) for a great tasting and powerfully anti-carcinogenic marinade!

Here’s my favourite red meat marinade. It works best on a grass-fed/grass-finished steak:

¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Lemon juice
1 sprig of Fresh rosemary, chopped finely
1 – 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp Honey
Salt & Pepper to taste
Coat fillet and marinate in the fridge for 4 – 6 hours. To increase the liquid, add more olive oil and lemon juice. Enjoy!


 by Lisa Kilgour, RHN, Nutritionist
 Southern Interior – Kelowna