Healthy BBQ... is that a paradox?
Recent research reveals lots of links between grilling and cancer. There are, however, simple tips to greatly reduce the cancer risk and to boost your enjoyment.
There are two known cancer causing agents (Heterocyclic Amines (HCA) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)) which are formed when placing food -- primarily meats -- in contact with intense heat and flame.
The bad stuff suppozedly happens when the fat is heated to extreme temperatures or from the smoke created by fat burning.
Here are some tips to reduce your risk:
--Keep you grill clean! Scrape off and discard visible charred pieces.
--Shorten grilling time! The best way is to slightly pre-cook meat in the oven.
--Trim excess fats from foods.
--Flip meat often.
--Enjoy kabobs. Small pieces of chicken, fish and lean beef cook faster and spend less time on the grill therefore producing fewer HCAs.
--Use olive oils and/or citrus juices as marinades.
--Avoid flare-up flames! These flames burn food and this increase HCA formation.
--Don't overcook foods. The charred bits on foods are the largest sources of PAHs and HCAs so if you have charred bits of meat cut them off!
Scientists from the Food Safety Consortium project have recently discovered that when certain herbs -- including thyme, basil, sage, rosemary, oregano and mint -- are used in marinades HCA formation is dramatically reduced.
The typical BBQ plate can contain as much as 2,200 calories and 125 grams of fat! By the time you finish one cheeseburger on a bun, a hot dog on a bun, one scoop of macaroni or poatao salad, a handful of chips, a glass of iced tea and maybe a piece of pie!
To trim some fat and calories, try these tips:
路 Choose a healthy burger! Bison, garden or turkey burgers (make homemade with lean ground turkey, or buy Jenni-O ready-made patties)
路 Choose lean poultry or soy hot dogs or sausages.
路 Choose skinless chicken breasts.
路 Opt for fish like wild salmon and halibut, or shrimp!
Add grilled vegetables as a side. Other good choices are sweet potatoes, fries baked in the oven with some cooking spray, or corn on the cob without butter. Also, choose healthier varieties of chips such as those that are baked and include lots of fresh fruit!
What's a good BBQ with friends without a few yummy drinks? Boring, if you ask me. So check out my favorite cocktail.
Voodoo Tiki Tequila Mar-Tiki!
路 3 lime slices with skin
路 3 orange slices with skin
路 3 oz. Voodoo Tiki Tequila Platinum Silver
路 1 oz. agave syrup* or simple syrup
Muddle 3 lime slices and 3 orange slices with skin in mixing glass, add ice, add 3 ounces Voodoo Tiki Tequila Platinum Silver and agave syrup, shake up, and pour into rocks glass.
* Agave nectar is a natural juice extracted from agave, the same plant that's processed into tequila. Agave nectar is 42 percent sweeter than white sugar but has the same caloric value and a low glycemic index (11), a measurement of the relative ability of a carbohydrate to raise blood glucose levels. It can be substituted in equal parts for honey in most recipes. As a substitute for sugar, use 3/4 cup agave nectar for 1 cup of sugar, and reduce the liquid content by 1/4 cup. Agave nectar is metabolized more slowly and is less likely to cause dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar.
Diet.com expert blogger Donna M. DeCunzo-Taddeo is the registered and licensed dietitian who developed the 12-week weight management program that became the foundation of the eDiets.com weight loss program. Together with her husband, writer/director John Taddeo, Donna has since launched Voodoo Tiki Tequila. Donna has been featured by CNN, NBC, NY Times, Cosmopolitan, Women鈥檚 World and Women鈥檚 Day.