Few things taste as good as food cooked outside, over an open flame, and eaten in the fresh air. But some studies show a link between cancer and grilled foods, and in any case barbecue favorites like ribs, burgers and bratwurst aren't exactly healthy foods.
Here's good news for healthy eaters, though: Leaner meats and fish are less likely to develop the cancer causing compounds that form on grilled foods, and those that are quick to cook, like skinless chicken and fish fillets, have less time to develop those compounds. If you are indulging in a thick steak, precook it a little in the microwave first so it doesn't have to stay on the grill as long.
Marinating those leaner meats both helps boost their flavor and can block those cancer-causing compounds from forming as well. At least 30 minutes in the soak can block up to 88 percent of those cancer causing compounds, depending on the kind of marinade you use. Herbs and spices can also offer some protective qualities, according to some research.
Using perforated foil can allow the smoky grill flavor to pass through while keeping exposure to harmful chemicals to a minimum, as well.
Keeping the grill clean is also really important. It's the char in meats that is harmful, so scrubbing off the charred remnants of previous meals makes grilling safer. You can buy wire brushes and grill-grate scrapers that get off a lot of gunk. When the grill grates are hot, take some foil, ball it up loosely, and grab the ball with tongs in order to scrub the grill clean. Follow that with an oiled paper towel to both prevent sticking and give a last good cleaning before you put the food on.
How do you make your grilling more healthy?