It’s that time of year to fire up the grill for outdoor entertainment—here’s a healthful tip: marinate lean meats ahead of time for delicious and healthy outdoor cuisine.
Marinating meats is a smart alternative to charring raw meat directly on the grill. Here’s why: According to the American Cancer Research Institute, cancer-causing agents (HCA’s) can be reduced by as much as 99% when foods are marinated in an acidic marinade. Marinating meats may help reduce potential cancer causing agents, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Choose Low-Sodium and Sugar
Gay Riley, MS, RD, CCN, a personal nutrition coach in Richardson, TX, who connects with clients through telephone conferences, email and the new bodybugg™ armband technology (www.netnutritionist.com), says “Marinades like Worchester sauce, soy sauce and steak sauce can be high in sodium.” Check labels carefully and purchase low sodium products. Watch sugar intake. “If the marinade is high in sodium, which most bottled marinades are, read the label to see what the sugar content is; if it contains honey, sugar or fruit, then it’s high in sodium, but the calories are often burned off with cooking.”
Here are 3 cuisines plus Riley’s favorite marinade to accompany them:
Pineapple juice, soy sauce and wine
Beer, lime, a little olive oil, and fajita seasoning
Yogurt, turmeric, salt pepper and saffron; or Lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and minced onion
Marinate in the refrigerator. Keep in mind, an acidic ingredient, such as lemon juice, vinegar, wine or yogurt must be included to tenderize. Never re-use leftover marinades. Do not marinate meat for more than 24 hours.
Add fresh herbs and spice for taste and health benefits. “Garlic, onion, basil, rosemary, oregano, and all the herbs are flavorful and aromatic,” adds Riley. “I think Turmeric is by far the healthiest. It has medicinal properties but really should be added close to the end of cooking.”
Keep foods refrigerated prior to grilling
Never marinate at room temperature.
Remove poultry’s skin
Wash hands before and after handling raw meats
Need more ideas?
Marinades: Secrets of Great Grilling (Paperback)
by Melanie Barnard; amazon.com
Asian Sauces and Marinades (Paperback)
by Wendy Sweetser; amazon.com