Shape Up Your Next BBQ Bash

Posted On Jul 15, 2013 By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD

BBQ Kabobs

What says summer more than hanging out in the backyard with friends and family around the BBQ? From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the enticing aromas of the grill waft through the air to make a perfect summer evening.

However you want to phrase it: grilling, cooking out, or barbequing can be a great way to make healthy, tasty, and quick meals. But, there are a few things that can quickly turn a grill session into a plate of unhealthy choices and potentially harmful chemicals. For starters, make sure there's more variety than just the meat selections. Having hamburgers, hotdogs, and steaks isn't what I mean by variety!

  • Stick with two meat selections, including something leaner like chicken, pork, or shrimp
  • Make kabobs or grilled veggies for a more balanced meal
  • Replace fat and calorie-laden classics like macaroni and potato salad with green salad and fruit salad.

Healthy BBQ food

Besides adjusting the choices going on your plate, another hazard of grilling is the potentially cancer-causing carcinogens from BBQ-blackened meat. Here's how to make your grilling as healthy as possible and minimize the amount of crunchy black stuff on your meat:

  • Marinate meat for 2-3 hours before cooking. Short on time? Even 30 minutes makes a big difference!
  • User leaner cuts of meat or cut the fat off before cooking since barbequed fat produces the carcinogenic chemicals
  • Make a homemade marinade with vinegar, citrus juice or wine and add herbs and seasonings with a small amount of salt
  • Oil the grill, not the food, with a higher heat tolerant oil like grape seed
  • Aim for brown, not black meat, and don't cook over 350 degrees
  • Balance it out with fruit and vegetables – the antioxidants have a protective effect against carcinogens

Happy grilling!