Healthy Meals & Healthy Cooking for Good Nutrition

Healthy Diet Plans, Eating Healthy & Nutritional Meals

Get grilling with these healthy cooking strategies, and make your grilling even healthier by choosing vegetables and fruits to grill instead of meat. Grilling makes eating healthy during warmer weather easier, yet you need to beware of the carcinogens that can develop on well-done meat. For better nutrition and less risk, fruits and vegetables are a better choice for grilling because they don't produce any carcinogens when grilling, and they are better for you, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. And no diet plan is complete without a well-established fitness routine at Gold's fitness centers near you.

6 Ways to Have a Healthier Barbecue

Everyone loves a good barbecue, but too much heat can be bad for your health. You don’t have to give up burgers, just follow these grilling tips from

You don’t have to throw out that red-checkered tablecloth or forgo a refill on your propane tank, just be aware that research has shown grilling meats at high heat can cause the carcinogens heterocyclic amine (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to form.

And it’s not an insignificant amount. One study found that people who consume well-done meat—grilled, barbecued, pan fried or broiled—on a regular basis were 60% more likely to get pancreatic cancer. Longer cooking times might also increase the risk of stomach, lung and breast cancer.

Use A Marinade

A 2008 study found that spicy marinades can decrease HCA formation, so don’t be afraid to sprinkle on the red pepper.

Certain spices are packed with antioxidants that will help to eliminate HCAs in the grilling process. One study showed that adding spices, such as thyme, sage and garlic, can reduce the amount of total HCAs by 60% compared to the control.

Rosemary may be especially potent. A recent study found that high concentrations of rosemary extracts may reduce HCAs by up to 90% in some cases. Get inspired by these marinated meals.

Add Alcohol

At your next barbecue, don’t forget beer and wine…for your marinade. We know red wine is full of antioxidants, and this can carry over in your marinades.

Marinating beef in red wine for six hours before grilling decreased the amount of carcinogens—40% fewer than in beef that wasn’t marinated—according to a study by the University of Porto in Portugal.

This same study found similar positive effects using beer, and participants gave the beer-marinated beef top marks for quality.

Turn Down The Heat

Well done shouldn’t be in your vocabulary if you’re trying to cut down on carcinogens. Studies have shown that higher temperatures lead to an increase in HCAs.

Allow some extra time, and try to cook your meat below 325°F, which is the temperature at which HCAs begin to form.

To ensure that you’re meeting the minimum cooking temperatures, invest in a meat thermometer, and make sure your burgers have an internal temperature of 160°F.

Precook Food In The Microwave

Before your fire up the grill, nuke meat in the microwave for one or two minutes at medium power. Studies have shown that microwaving meat for two minutes prior to cooking decreased HCAs by 90%. Just remember to throw out the juice—that’s where the HCAs lurk.

Grill Veggies

Grilled veggies offer that same hot-off-the-grill taste but don’t contain carcinogens like their meaty counterparts. Portobello mushroom burgers are a great hearty option. However, if you crave grilled meat, make kebabs. Using half meat, half veggies is healthier and cuts down on the HCAs.

Less Is More When It Comes To Marinating

Though this may sound counterintuitive, marinating meat for long lengths of times may lower the percentage of antioxidants in the sauces. A 2010 study found that marinating meat in sauce for five hours prior to oven baking cut down the antioxidant activity in the sauce compared with cooking after shorter marinating times.

Play it on the safe side by aiming to marinate your meat for no more than a few hours. Marinades don’t soak deep into the meat, so there’s not a lot of flavor advantage to an overnight marinade. And brushing a little extra sauce on the meat shortly before serving could give you an extra boost of antioxidants.
Grill smart with these healthy cooking tips for meat, and increase the nutrition of your healthy meals by swapping out fruits and vegetables for red meat from time to time. Embrace eating healthy by throwing veggies like tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and zucchini on the grill whenever you barbecue, whether you make them the main focus of the meal or just a tasty side dish. By serving veggies, the nutritional value of your meal goes up while your caloric intake goes down, making it easier for you to work off any extra calories at your next workout at the Gold's Gym fitness center. And with your diet plan in mind, try low-calorie marinades like a simple balsamic vinegar and olive oil mix, or try a fancier marinade like Spicy Orange marinade from, and blend olive oil with orange zest, salt and crushed red pepper.

Make your healthy cooking even healthier by ditching meat altogether, and trying meat substitutes like black bean burgers or veggie kabobs. Eat healthy with these meatless options that are also low in fat and cholesterol, according to the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. For smart nutrition, Portobello mushrooms are another excellent choice for replacing meat on the grill, and only have about 30 calories and no fat or cholesterol when prepared with the Mayo Clinic recipe for Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers. Your diet plan won't feel like a diet when you include these satisfying vegetarian selections in your healthy meals.