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How to Enjoy Your Cycling Summer – BBQ and Grilling

By Jiri Kaloc

Are you wondering how to enjoy a BBQ with your friends and family on a warm summer evening while not breaking your healthy eating habits? Grilling makes food look and smell great but is it good for you? The following tips and tricks will make sure to take your BBQ to the next level.

Before we get to how to improve your grilling, it’s important to define what the potential downsides are.

Potentially cancer-causing compounds. These compounds form when the fat from the meat drips onto hot coals, stones or any other grill element. They are also created in red meat, poultry and fish when they are exposed to high-heat cooking, like grilling.

More processed food on your plate. BBQs tend to feature a lot of sausages, salami, and other ultra-processed foods. Eating these foods is linked to a long list of negative health effects.

Not very balanced meals. There are often several types of meat, sausages, and bacon on offer but vegetables can be lacking.

Add vegetables to your BBQ routine. © Profimedia

Thankfully, all of these downsides can be fixed or improved if you know how. Here is how.

Grill vegetables too

Vegetables don’t have to be the boring part of the BBQ. You can add them to the grill too and create a whole new variety of flavours. You can slather them in a marinade as well or you can simply put them on the grill whole and raw and be surprised how tasty they are.

Adding veggies will help you balance the whole BBQ experience from a nutritional perspective. And the best thing is that those potentially cancer-causing compounds don’t form while grilling veggies. Here are a few veggies that work great on a grill.

  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Asparagus
  • Brussel sprouts

Marinate your meat

You want to create those unique flavours but there’s one more reason why marinating is great. The simple act of marinating meat before grilling has been shown to reduce the formation of potentially cancer-causing compounds by as much as 92%.

So, make sure to put some wine, vinegar, lemon or lime juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices on whatever meat you’re planning to have and enjoy a healthier and tastier BBQ. Here are a few things to keep in mind when marinating.

Marinating meat before grilling reduces the cancer-causing compounds. © Profimedia
  • Red meats and poultry should marinate for at least 2 hours for optimal results. Fish and vegetables generally only need to marinate for one hour.
  • Refrigerate any foods that are marinating for longer than 1/2 hour.
  • Don’t baste your food during grilling with the liquid the meat was marinating in because you would be spreading raw meat juices onto your cooked meat. Before you add the meat, set aside some of your marinade for this purpose.

Flip it the right way

Flipping food frequently may help prevent the formation of cancer-causing compounds. The only problem is that when you use a fork to pierce the meat to flip it, you release precious juices. To turn the meat without piercing it, use tongs or spatulas instead of a fork.

Grill for a shorter time

Less time on the grill also helps form fewer cancer-causing compounds. One way to do this without risking eating undercooked meat is to pre-cook the meat. Another way is to grill smaller portions. You can add some fun to it and use a skewer to grill small pieces of meat, fish, and veggies all at once.

Now you know all the essential tips and tricks for a summer grilling party. Just make sure to marinate the meat, grill small pieces, add some veggies, flip often, and you’ve got the healthiest BBQ possible!

Next up in How to Enjoy Your Cycling Summer series