Make your barbecue a bit heart-friendly

April 13, 2009 by  

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bbq_spare_ribsThe barbecue season started this Easter weekend. At least in this corner of the world where we live. Now that the weather is starting to get warmer, and the sun is shining most of the time, evenings and weekends are barbecue time also known as grill time in many parts of Western Europe.

There’s nothing more appetizing than the smell of meat, burgers, and sausages sizzling on the grill. In our neighbourhood, I think we are the only ones who do not own a garden barbecue set. We have a mini electric grill but that’s how far our barbecue equipment goes. But we don’t mind. Because we are not such big meat eaters despite the tempting aroma around us.

A recent study by the National Cancer Institute indicates that consuming large amounts of red and processed meat can damage your health. They contain high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. A diet high in these foods causes a modest but statistically significant increase in the risk of death from heart disease and cancer.

In many countries, barbecue and meat consumption is a part of life and to forgo on these can be very difficult. However, there are ways and means to make your barbecue more heart-friendly. Here are some tips for barbecue fans:

Take it easy on the red meat.

The recommended amount of meat consumption per day is 4 ounces and obviously this amounts to just one small biteful to many people. If you have to eat meat, then follow Web MD’s recommendations:

Look for lean protein such as chicken or turkey breasts, pork tenderloin, or beef round, sirloin or tenderloin. Read labels to ensure the meat is 96% to 98% fat free.

Take it easy on the salt.

Do not use too much salt or sugar in the marinade, depending on your preferring. Honey can be used instead of sugar. Use more herbs and lemon juice, and less salt.

Take it easy on the barbecue sauce.

Most barbecue sauces are rich in trans fats and cholestererol. Pay attention to the food labels. Choose sauces and dips with zero of trans fats and low saturated fats per serving. If you have to use fat or oil, use olive or canola oil.

Take it easy on the alcohol.

Beer and barbecue go together. However, alcoholic drinks are calorie-rich and fattening. Check alternatives such as sugar-free juices and mineral water.

Load up on vegetables.

Fresh salad should be part of the barbecue menu. In addition, vegetables can also be placed on the grill, including tomatoes, bell pepper, mushrooms and beans. The best way to do this is to wrap these vegetables in aluminium foil and cook them on the barbecue just like jacket potatoes.

Eat whole grain and high fiber carbs.

To go with the meat and salad, serve whole grain bread and pasta because these are rich in fibers.

You need not completely forgo on barbecue unless there is an urgent medical need to do so. But for the sake of your long-term health, cutting down is necessary. Bon appetit!

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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