Health Tips for Summer Grilling

I love grilled food.  They often taste so much better.  And wouldn’t you agree that eating outside just makes food taste yummier?  Here are some health tips and ideas for your summer grilling and picnics. 

Reducing cancer.  Fats from meat that drips into flame produces more smoke and carcinogens.  Reduce this exposure with these ideas:

  • Avoid breathing in smoke.
  • Avoid charring meat and trim them off so you don’t eat them.
  • Grill fish or poultry with the fat trimmed.  Try veggie burgers and grilling vegetables too.
  • Reduce grill time by cutting meats into smaller chunks.
  • Wrap meat in foil.  This speeds up the cooking time and protects it from smoking.
  • Use marinades.  This reduces carcinogens because of the acid in the lemon, lime, and vinegar.  Plus, herbs such as rosemary, garlic, thyme, etc. have antioxidant properties to prevent cancer.

Healthier options.  High intake of red meat especially processed meats like sausage, bacon, hot dogs, salami are linked to higher risks of death such as colorectal and stomach cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.  Try adding more plants like:

  • Veggie kabobs using zucchini, summer squash, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms and pair them with salsa, hummus, baba ganoush, pesto. 
  • Fruit.  Cut up peaches, mangoes, melons, berries, pineapples, figs, etc.  Some of these tastes so good grilled too.
  • Add plant-based proteins such as beans, seeds, tofu, tempeh to salads or grain dishes. 
  • Roasted crunchy chickpeas as snacks

Add herbs and spices.  Not only do they make our food taste better but they have beneficial chemicals called polyphenols and also have antimicrobial properties.  Garlic, onions, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, tarragon, rosemary, cloves prevent growth and even kill some bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and streptococcus. 

Hydrate.  Don’t forget to hydrate but make it naturally sugar-free by infusing water with cucumber, lemon, lime, oranges, mint, etc.  Drop the soda and sugary drinks.

Minimize wastes.  This planet is our home and we need to all do better with reducing wastes.  Reduce single-use items, use metal skewers, use real plates/utensils/cups, and bring an extra trash bag for recycling.

Happy summer to you and enjoy your food!  

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.   

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach