We know that leaner cuts of meat are better for our hearts and that more vegetables and fruits are required than most of us include in our daily diets. With grilling becoming so popular over the last decade have we taken poor eating to a new level?
There are advocates and opponents for both sides of the story and while they argue the virtue versus the downfalls of grilling your food there is, without a doubt, more and more people turning to the simplicity and diversity of grilling their food as a means of daily cooking.
Some experts believe that the virutes of grilling include such things as when meat is grilled the fat drips away. When vegetables are grilled and exposed to flame they become even more delicious than when raw. Skinless chicken breasts have always been bland, but marinade them or rub them and they become a culinary masterpiece. So why not grill!
The thought that meat exposed to grilling has carcinogens has never been proven but it is more correct to say that the health risks are associated with processed meats like hot dogs, sausage and bacon because chemical flavouring is often added to the meats during processing.
Food safety is paramount in any cooking process. Proper washing of foods and hands. Proper temperatures for storing and cooking meats. Arguably the movement towards fresher foods, such as beef patties freshly ground and formed at the supermarkets as opposed to frozen patties, have made our grilling healthier. But there are a lot of other reasons the grilling good is healthy.
Today grass-fed livestock is available right in the grocer’s aisle and it is becoming easier and easier to find hormone and antibiotic free meat as demand for healthier alternatives increase. Better meats require less cooking and that means they stay juicy on the plate and you use less gas when grilling.
Seafood is also closing in fast. We have always used salmon or swordfish as a standby for steak. But now we grill mackerel, shrimp, octopus, lobster, clams and crabs. There are no limit to what we can master on the grill. Straight on the grill, cedar planks, aluminum foil and add some vegetables like rugged root vegetables which cook slowly to more delicate vegetables.
So is grilling our food healthy? The short answer is yes. Yes because you have so many healthy choices. Eat the food that you love, choose high quality ingredients, fresh butchered, fresh picked, free caught.
Eat big flavours. Don’t compromise on taste. If you’re firing up the grill take the time to marinade, rub, and prepare your foods. Heighten flavours with salts, fresh herbs and vinegars because you need to enjoy what you eat when you eat it.
Eat for your appetite not for savings. There was a time when we chose what we ate because of scarcity of food. But now we have the benefit of preserving foods through proper storage, pickling and drying. While the grill can do wonderful things to cheaper cuts of meat with a little effort on the marinating side, it is also capable of accomplishing amazing dishes by starting with quality ingredients.
Choose healthy meats, vegetables and fruits and let your imagination run wild. Grilling is not new but what is new are the creative ways grillers have come up with preparing meats, vegetables and fruits that make for a healthy, satiating meal.
Enjoy the grill! Enjoy the meal! Bon appetite!