July is Healthy Grilling Month

bbq-150x150A Healthier Way to Grill July 2013 From the Desk of Dr. Cruz

Hopefully many of you will be enjoying the inevitable Fourth of July Bar B Q! Many times we refer to WebMd for weight loss tips and ideas. This month is ” A healthier Way to Grill”. This article highlights general healthy tips for grilling and is a useful guide. You may need to adjust the recipes depending on what phase you are in. Enjoy!

Dr. Cruz

A Healthier Way to Grill 6 ways to avoid the pitfalls of barbecuing WebMD Weight Loss Clinic – Expert Column

What’s the word on grilling: Is it a good thing or a bad thing? After all, one of the golden rules of eating healthy at restaurants is to choose “grilled” foods over “fried” choices. That’s because grilled food is generally a healthier choice — there’s no batter coating or dripping grease.Besides, there’s something about the act of grilling that just makes food look and taste fantastic. Is it the smoky flavor, the fun flavors of marinades, the grill lines that form on the food, or the fresh taste that comes from cooking something over high heat for a short amount of time? Try all of the above!

I hate to burst your “isn’t-grilling-fun?” bubble, but the way I see it, there are two nutritional downsides to grilling.

* Many Americans end up eating very high-fat meats and sausages when they fire up the barbie — pumping yet more calories, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol into their diets. * Then there’s the matter of a couple of potentially cancer-causing compounds: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). PAHs form when fat from the meat drips onto the hot coals or grill element. They’re then deposited on the food courtesy of flame-ups and rising smoke. Unfortunately, that yummy charring that forms on meat can contain PAHs as well. HCAs, meanwhile, are produced when red meat, poultry and fish meet high-heat cooking, like grilling or broiling.

But don’t despair, grill lovers — a new, healthy way to grill is possible!

6 Keys to Healthy Grilling Follow these tips, and you can grill without guilt.

1. Grill Fruits and Vegetables

Grilling fruits and vegetables is a great idea, whether or not you’re grilling meat or fish to go with them. We all need to eat more fruits and vegetables, and this is an appealing way to serve them. I probably don’t need to remind you that eating fruits and vegetables benefits the body in so many ways — reducing your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, obesity, and some types of cancer. But here’s the best part: PAHs and HCAs don’t form on grilled fruits and vegetables. Plus, if you are having grilled meat, it’s a great idea to get antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables in the same meal. Some fruits and vegetables that are great to grill: * Tomatoes * Onions * Bell peppers * Zucchini * Eggplant * Endive * Pineapple * Mango * Apple * Pear

2. Grill Smart, Grill Lean

When you’re grilling meat, limit the amount of fat that drips on the coals by starting with lean cuts trimmed of visible fat and skin. If you put a very lean cut of beef or pork, or skinless chicken, onto the grill, you’re off to a healthy start. (Following Tip No. 3 can help make most lean cuts more tender and tasty, too.)

3. Marinate, Marinate, Marinate

You’ve gotta love the idea of infusing flavor into meats, fruits, and vegetables by soaking them in a tasty marinade. Some favorite marinade ingredients include wines, vinegars, lemon or lime juice, low-sodium soy sauce, honey, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices. Use fat-free or low-fat marinades on your grilled meats, fish, and poultry to limit the fat that drips on the coals. The simple act of marinating before grilling has been shown to reduce the formation of HCAs by as much as 92% to 99% in some studies.

Keep these marinating tips in mind:

* When choosing bottled marinades or making your own, look for products or recipes that contain olive or canola oil (and that only use a little oil). * Refrigerate any foods that are marinating longer than 1/2 hour. * Don’t baste your food during grilling with the liquid the meat was marinating in (this passes raw meat juices to your cooked meat). Before you add the meat, set aside some of your marinade for this purpose. * Meats and poultry should marinate at least 1-2 hours; fish and vegetables generally only need to marinate for an hour.

4. Cut Down on Grilling Time

Grill smaller portions of meat, poultry, and fish so they cook faster and spend less time on the grill. Another trick is to precook the meat, fish, and poultry in the oven or microwave, then finish cooking on the grill.

5. Flip It — Flip It Good

Flipping food frequently may help prevent the formation of HCAs, according to recent research using hamburger patties. To turn meat without piercing it (which releases juices that drip onto the coals), use tongs or spatulas instead of a fork.

6. Skewer It

A fun way to cut down on grilling time is to thread small pieces of meat or fish on a skewer. Scallops and shrimp are naturals for skewers, too. I like to alternate pieces of meat, chicken, or seafood with bell pepper and onion pieces, zucchini slices, cherry tomatoes, and/or small mushrooms. Don’t have skewers? No problemo. I love to use branches of rosemary as my skewers. They infuse a hint of rosemary into the food as it cooks — not to mention the beautiful presentation it makes.

Fire Up the Barbie

Now that you’ve learned some healthy grilling secrets, here are three lightened-up recipes to try.