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5 Tips to Help Keep Summer Grilling Healthy

  • author name Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN
Family eating outside

For many Americans, nothing says summer quite like steaks, hot dogs, and burgers right off the grill. However, along with warm weather cookouts come some potential health risks associated with grilling meat. By following these 5 tips as you fire up the grill, you can “have your steak and eat it too.”

Grilling and Carcinogens

According to the National Cancer Institute, grilling meat at high temperatures forms carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that may increase the risk for certain cancers.

But don’t hang up your barbecue apron. Here’s how to enjoy summertime grilling in a healthier way:

  • Marinate before grilling. The meat will stay moist and will not form as many of the HCAs. Try a citrus marinade—the vitamin C in citrus is an antioxidant that helps protect your body from damage.

  • Flip your meat every minute or so. Flipping meat keeps the surface of the meat from getting too hot or scorched.

  • Go lean. Not only will it be better for your heart, it can also help lessen the dripping of fat that can lead to the grill flare-ups that can cause charring.

  • Try a substitute. Grilling chicken and fish is safer since it produces less of the compounds that cause cancer. These meats are also lower in saturated fat.

Better yet, try swapping in a veggie burger, grilled portabella mushroom, or other healthy recipes with veggies and forgoing the meat altogether. Increasing your intake of plant foods is a great way to increase your intake of fiber and important nutrients and can help lower your risk for chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

  • Enjoy in moderation. Consider limiting your consumption of grilled meats to once a week or less.

Follow these tips and you, your family, and guests can enjoy your favorite foods on your grill in a healthier way.

author name

Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN

Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN, is a wellness dietitian with Lancaster General Health Corporate Wellness.

Education: Janelle Glick holds a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from Messiah College and a M.A. in Nutrition Education from Immaculata University. Her special areas of interest include weight management and health coaching.

Call: 717-544-3527

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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