Healthy BBQ ideas

By: Dr. Joey Shulman

Author: Canadian Living


Healthy BBQ ideas

By: Dr. Joey Shulman
After a long, hard winter it is finally here! Barbecue season is back with a vengeance. From the smell of burgers cooking to the sizzle of vegetables grilling, Canadians are thrilled to be cooking outdoors once again.

When it comes to being barbecue-savvy, there are a few key pointers that will help keep your cooked food healthy and safe while you enjoy delicious and nutritious foods.

When the temperature rises and raw meats enter the picture, food safety is always a concern. In order to enjoy a healthy barbecue season and avoid any food-borne illness, consider some of the safety tips below.

Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling food.

Rinse fresh fish, meats and poultry in cool water to remove any potentially harmful bacteria that may have collected in their packaging.
The #1 risk of food poisoning when barbecuing is from raw and undercooked meat. Be sure to cook chicken, burgers, hot dogs and kabobs until they’re hot all the way through, the meat is no longer pink and juices run clear. Do not cook them until they are charred and black. Charred or black meat may contain cancer-causing substances.

Keep raw and cooked meats separate from each other, as raw meat can contaminate the cooked meat. To prevent cross contamination, wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, use separate utensils for raw and cooked meat, never put cooked food back on the same plate that held raw food and don't add sauce or marinade to cooked food if it has already been used with raw meat – reserve some marinade for basting.

Research shows that high temperature charcoal grilling of foods that contain fat and protein, including barbecue favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken, can lead to the production of cancer-causing chemicals, called heterocyclic amines (HAs), in the smoke. To minimize the risk, you can precook foods and finish them off on the grill; less time spent on the grill means fewer cancer-causing agents in the meats. Also, choose leaner cuts of meat and trim the fat off because oil and fats often spark smoke (full of cancer-causing substances).

Keep food covered whenever possible to protect it from insects, birds and pets, which can carry bugs.

Throw food out if it has been sitting out for more than one or two hours. Perishable food is susceptible to bacteria growth.

Recipe featured in the image above: Grilled Scaloppini with Peaches

Page 1 of 2 -- Which side is better for you? Rich potato salad or creamy coleslaw? Find the answer in our chart on page 2.

While some people equate barbecue season with an expanding waist line, this is not necessarily so. In fact, the barbecue can be one of the most powerful weight loss tools you have to loss those extra pounds. How so you ask? Simply refer to the healthy barbecue tips below and enjoy!

• When selecting your meats, make sure to choose meats that are labeled "lean" or "extra lean".

Barbecuing vegetables are a tasty way to get some colour and nutrients into your diet. Simply brush the vegetables with olive oil and your favourite seasoning, wrap in tin foil and place on the grill, vegetable kabobs are the perfect outdoor menu option that can be served as appetizers. Try kabobs with peppers, mushrooms, onions or other vegetables of your choice.

Limit fatty, processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs and sausages. These meats are high in saturated fats, are pro-inflammatory and can be a contributing factor in excess weight gain, high cholesterol and heart disease. For a good hot dog substitute, opt for chicken, turkey or soy hot dogs which are lower in saturated fat and total fat in comparison to pork or beef. You could also look for "lean" beef hot dogs.

• When eating your favorite patty from the barbecue (salmon, turkey, chicken, veggie or lean beef), eat it with a whole grain bun. Whole grain breads and buns are lower on the glycemic index, higher in fibre and just as delicious as their white counterparts.

Nutritional facts about your favourite condiments and barbecued foods:
Item Calories Sugar (g) Fat (g)
Ketchup (1 tsp.) 20 5 0
Relish (1 tsp.) 15 4 0
Mustard (1 tsp.) 0 0 0
Mayonnaise (1 tsp.) 100 1 11
Light mayonnaise (1 tsp.) 30 3 2
Light BBQ sauce (1 tsp.) 9 2.2 0.1
1 beef patty 340 3 27
1 veggie patty 106 0.7 2.8
1 hot dog 181 1 15
1 veggie hot dog 70 1 3.5
Macaroni salad (1/2 cup) 158 19 8
Potato salad (1/2 cup) 220 19 15
Creamy coleslaw (1/2 cup) 130 15 7

Wishing you a healthy and happy summer!

Recipe featured in the image above
: Balsamic Sirloin Medallions

Read more:
Grilled vegetables: Potatoes, corn and veggie side dishes
Barbecue basics: Essential tools for your barbecue
Grilling in the great outdoors

Check out: Nutrition Health and Wellness Food

Page 2 of 2 -- Discover which barbecue habits could make you sick on page 1.

Dr. Joey Shulman DC, RNCP is author of the best selling book The Last 15 – A Weight Loss Breakthrough. To book your free weight loss assessment at the Shulman Weight Loss Clinic or to learn more, please visit
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Healthy BBQ ideas