6 Tips for a Healthier Memorial Day Cookout

                                                                 Dr. Pauers

For many of us, cookouts are an essential part of Memorial Day and the summer season in general. However, grilling can present a health risk. Two types of carcinogens are produced by high temperature grilling, PAH and HCA. Both of these carcinogens have links to certain types of cancers. By making a couple of changes to our grilling habits, we can grill healthier for Memorial Day.

1. Choose Leaner Meats. PAH is produced when fat drips down onto the hot coals in the grill. By choosing meats with less fat, you reduce the chance of PAH infecting your food.
2. Marinate Meat Before Grilling. HCA is formed when meat is directly exposed to flame or very hot surfaces. Marinating your meats before cooking them has been shown to reduce HCA formation by 90% or more because it creates a small, but effective barrier between the meat and the grill.
3. Grill at Lower Temperatures. Lower temperature cooking can also reduce HCA formation.
4. Prevent Flare-ups. Keep a watchful eye on your grill. The flames from flare-ups cause both HCA and PAH formation. Turn your meat frequently to help prevent these flare-ups.
5. Don’t Overcook Meat. Be careful not to overcook your meat. Meats that are burnt or cooked to well-done contain higher levels of HCA than meats cooked to medium or medium-well.