Summer is coming and while there are many benefits and advantages to grilling. One cannot help to be reminded that this summer must-have does come with its health risk – often cancer. Talk about dousing the fire on your enthusiasm. Here, we will talk about what are the benefits of grilling and how can you make your next BBQ a healthier one, without spoiling the fun.
Benefits Of Grilling
#1. Meat Retains Nutrients
Meat that are cooked on the grill retains nutrients known as Thiamine and Riboflavin. Both nutrients are B vitamins that help to provide the body with the energy it requires to get through the activities for the day.
Thiamine enables the body to turn carbohydrates into energy. It also plays an important role in nerve, heart and muscle function. It is also involved in the flow of electrolytes in and out of muscle and nerve cells.
Riboflavin, on the other hand, not only helps to turn carbohydrates, protein, and fats into fuel for the body. It is also used for the development and function of the skin and also allows oxygen to be used by the body. The US national library of medicine (NLM) also reports that Riboflavin is important for eye health, especially in the prevention of developing cataracts. American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition shows that it is important to how your body processes iron for without it, the body is more likely to develop Anemia.
Are you surprised about the benefits of that slab of meat that you are eating now?
#2. Consume Fewer Fats
Recalls seeing those fats that drip off the meat and into the grates? You might be disgruntled that it might reduce the tanginess and flavor of the meat. But, those fats, consumed in excess, is not good for health.
You might think that all kinds of cooking methods will burn off that layer of fats. Well, the fats that dripped off the grates are not going back or pool around your food unlike cooking it in a pan. So, in this way, grilling does make the food less greasy. Food that is too greasy translates into excess calories and weight. Moreover, it strains your digestive system. You wouldn’t want to run to the bathroom in the middle of the BBQ party. Worse so, your guest.
#3. Grilling Can Happen Anywhere
You imagine a BBQ party at the patio. But really, grilling is a technique that spans hundreds of years and can be done anywhere. It doesn’t need a kitchen or fanciful furniture. All it needs is a fire and some sticks to hold the food on. What that means is that you are able to grill food out camping or glamping, on a boat, in a cave or a tailgate at the back of a truck.
It is a versatile cooking technique and only limited by imagination.
#4. It Is A Social Activity On Its Own
Barbecue parties are among the favorite activities Americans will choose to do in the Summer and rightfully so. Grilling in the backyard provides an opportunity to foster closer bonds with your friends and family. Imaging chatting about the whatnots that is happening, relaxing and chilling while watching a game. Grilling is not only nutrients for your body, but it is also food for the soul.
Grilling contest is also a hot favorite activity where everyone pits their skills and whip up their preferred dishes. Hugely entertaining, don’t you think?
#5. Eat It On Its Own
Grilled food tastes fabulous on its own without much spicing or marinating. It encapsulates the natural flavor and sweetness of the meat or vegetables. The flavor of the food, though, can be dependent on the nature of the heat source used.
For example, those who love a smoky flavor will go with a charcoal grill. Generally, we use charcoal, gas, wood or electricity and all these confer different additional taste to the food. Personally, I like to use charcoal. Smoked Cajun Chicken, loved it!
#6 Breaks Out A Sweat
Tell me a time where you don’t feel like you have exercised from holding a BBQ party? Grilling gets you outdoors because you have to. Grilling indoors turn your house into a smoky, hazy oven. This means you will more likely than not be outdoors, coupled that with the time needed for the food to cook, you will most likely find yourself kicking soccer or playing frisbee with the kids.
#7 Relatively Easier To Prepare
Compared with other methods of cooking, grilling is relatively straightforward. You marinate and throw that slab over the heat and cook. Yes, you would have to control the duration and temperature, but imagine the hassle of the 53 steps needed to cook Turducken. Check these difficult dishes to get an inkling.
The simple and straightforwardness of grilling are also one of the many features that make it popular. It gives you more time to do the important stuff – bonding.
Tips For Healthier Grilling This Summer
#1. Marinate Your Meats
Marinating your food not only enhance the flavors, but it also brings health benefits as well. You might have heard of the saying that barbecuing or grilling your food increases the risk of cancer. Well, to be more specific, it is the process of cooking your food over high temperature that increases the risk.
Cooking at high temperatures produces cancer-causing chemicals known as heterocyclic amines aka. HCAs. This problem is not unique to grilling, it does happen to broiled meat too.
This is where marinating your food helps. Studies have shown that marinating has helped to significantly reduce the production of HCAs as compared to the contrary. By significant, we are talking about up to 99%!
#2. Use Less Butter
Many of us like to smear that thick chunk of butter on our food. It tastes better, richer and gives that oily context. However, it is still a kind of saturated fat and consuming in excess can increase a person’s cholesterol level. While you can easily BBQ some other time, you can’t get your health as easily.
Consider alternatives to butter such as avocadoes, olive oils or sunflower seed oil if you are looking for that greasy texture.
#3. Use Gas Grill Instead Of Charcoal
Some medical doctors have suggested that grilling over charcoal can produce cancer-causing chemicals. Specifically, they are referring to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are contained in the smoke.
As meats cook, the layer of fat burns off and dripped onto the coals beneath and create PAHs. These PAHs is not only clinging on to your food and clothes, but it is also coating the insides of the lung, which is by any measure unhealthy.
That said, grilling over charcoal is still my preferred choice over gas. But for those healthier folks, consider gas or electric grills. Not to worry, it doesn’t take the fun out of BBQ parties.
#4. Buy Leaner Cuts
It is true that fattier cuts of meat are preferred in these parties. But you will do well to include leaner cuts of meat as well. While leaner cuts may not be the best type of meat for a cheeseburger, it is without a doubt, healthier.
#5. Go Easy On The Sauces
Walking through the aisle at the mart, you can see rows upon rows of condiments dedicated to dressing up your food. However, if you looked at the label on these sauces, the truth is condiments often contained loads of sugar and salt. While it does add flavors to your food, it does wreck hell in your body if consumed in excess.
Consider making your own condiments as opposed to buying those off the shelf as you will have more control of what goes into it. And for the record, BBQ does not require BBQ sauce.
#6. Seafood Over Meat
If you recall, we have touch on HCAs and PHAs which are cancer-causing. The good news is fish proteins are less likely to produce the said chemicals. So, consider swapping that red meat to seafood. Shrimp, scallops, eels, salmon, and trout are all amazing on that grates
#7. Grill More Vegetables and Fruits
Oh, did I mention vegetables and fruits? These may not be the first thing that came to mind when it comes to grilling. But, this is no doubt the most important in healthier grilling. Veggies do not have fats and it means lesser calories and cholesterol.
Also, since they are often grilled in indirect heat, they retain most of the nutrients. Vegetable kebab made with green pepper, red pepper and onions taste fabulous as well. They also offer many health benefits which you cannot find from a steak.
Some fruits that you can consider to grill are tomatoes (yes, it is a fruit), cherries, mangoes or pineapples.
#8. Pre-cook Your Meat
A well-studied trick is to cook your meat in the microwave first before grilling it. By doing this, you will reduce the time the food spends on the grill, and all those cancer-causing compounds will be reduced significantly. This method will also get your that grilled flavor that we all crave.
Healthier Food Healthier You
Summer is here and so are the warnings. Grilling has become an international favorite pastime and while it is true that there is a link between eating grilled food and increased health risk, there are many methods you can use to reduce that risk and enjoy the BBQ. We have gone through all of them to help you with it. To BBQ and to great health!