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Healthy Grilling

July 2, 2014, 6:18 PM by Brittany Larson

Healthy Grilling
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

With 4th of July right around the corner many of us will celebrate Independence Day with a gathering of family and friends, along with a BBQ.

Here are some ideas on healthy grilling options and what steps you need to take to make sure your food is safe.

It's summertime and that means the weather is just right to throw something on the grill for dinner.

"Hamburgers and steaks and hotdogs," Diane Rogers said.

"We're originally from Woonsocket and I had a grill there that I used a lot, and here I don't do it as much, but I do like to grill," Rogers said.

Luckily for Diane and all of us, grilling certain items gets the approval of Registered Dietitian, Annie Ailts.

"Grilling is a very healthy method of cooking and it's a lot of fun being outdoors, and enjoying the sunshine and stuff," Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian, Annie Ailts said. 

However, there's a certain technique you should follow when you grill.

"You want to make sure that it reaches the appropriate internal temperature, but also that it doesn't get overcooked. Because overcooking it can cause HCA's as well," Ailts said.

HCA's are the chemical formed when meat is cooked at high-temperatures. HCAs may increase the risk of cancer. 

"This happens when meat or fish is grilled to such a high temperature that it actually becomes charred," Ailts said.

There's an easy solution to avoid HCAs by simply marinating the meat you want to grill.

"That actually reduces the formation of HCA's by up to 96 percent. So this is a great way and marinate for at least 30 minutes before you put it on the grill," Ailts said.

You can also make your barbecue healthier by grilling some of your favorite vegetables.

So you can just take a skewer and cut up whatever kind of meat you want, whether it's beef or pork. And then cut up some peppers, mushrooms, onions, anything like that.

Unlike meat, veggies don't create carcinogens, even if they are overcooked. Ailts says another good safety tip is to make sure you don't let the food sit out for longer than two hours, especially if it's hot outside. Also, if you're grilling a variety of meats, keep it all separate.  

"Separate cutting boards and separate knives and separate plates and make sure when you thaw the foods, thaw it in the refrigerator or the microwave. Don't thaw it on the counter top like we tend to like to do especially if we are in a hurry," Ailts said.

Helpful reminders for those who enjoy firing up the grill.

To make sure you grill safely, Steaks, Pork Chops & Fish should be cooked to 145 degrees. Ground Beef and Ground pork need to reach 160 degrees. And poultry needs to be cooked to 165 degrees.

And be sure and wash your hands between handling meats and other foods to avoid foodborne illnesses.

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