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BBQ tips for a tasty, healthy 4th of July celebration

July 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Holidays aren't usually the time people think of diets or health. But with proper planning, a summer barbecue can be flavorful yet healthful at the same time.

One big obstacle is overcoming possible carcinogens that can occur when meat hits a hot grill.

"The first danger you want to think about is preventing the formation of HCAs," said chef Michelle Dudash, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families.

Dudash wants us to marinate food to reduce the chance of heterocyclic amine, or HCAs, from forming.

At Chez Cherie Cooking School, she demonstrated several techniques starting with marinades and tenderizing.

"It's also that barrier between the grill and the meat so it helps prevent those HCAs," she said.

Yours should contain citrus or other acidic ingredients. Cook meat on moderate and not super high heat.

While it provides impressive smoke, refrain from pressing down on food. It dries out protein and creates another challenge.

"When the fat drips onto the grill, PAHs can form and that's another carcinogen," said Dudash.

You can also microwave food for a couple minutes to reduce grilling time.

Try using a good grill brush or even a wad of aluminum foil to scrub off those bits of charred meat that sit on the grill, especially if you're going to grill vegetables after. Dudash says the char will stick to grilled veggies.

Finally, don't forget to slash salt by spicing things up.

"Garlic, and curry powder, and chili powder, paprika, all of those ingredients add antioxidants, which are disease fighting ingredients, and the other thing they do is block the formation of those HCAs as well," said Dudash.

To pick up a copy of Clean Eating for Busy Families, visit amazon.com.


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