Ask the Experts: Healthy summer eating

Written by  Facing Cancer Together
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You asked, we answered.  PinnacleHealth Dietitian Marykaye Flatley, RD, LDN shares some tips for creating a safe and healthy meal on the grill.

hot-dogs-hamburgersWondering what healthy alternatives are out there for your beloved hot dogs and burgers? Marykaye assures us there are wonderful options that reduce fat and increase the flavor.  Try grilling a turkey burger made with 99% fat-free ground meat, or try a tofu dog!  Check out her answers in this "Ask the Experts" video:

healthy-drinksTypical side dishes you'll find at a BBQ can pack in a lot of fat and sugar.  But, there are ways to swap out the fat and keep the flavor you love.  Try making a broccoli slaw and swap in Greek yogurt instead of mayo.  Or serve a colorful platter of fresh fruit or veggies with a homemade dip like hummus.   Marykaye also shares some delicious tips about how to make your own flavored drinks to cool you down! Check it out:

 Grilling food can potentially be dangerous if cancer-causing carcinogens are created from flare-ups and too much smoke.  But, Marykaye helps us understand what causes these carcinogens to form so we can still make the meals we love on th grill.  


Harrisburg Hospital/Sodexo’s Executive Chef Paul Gusst joins Marykaye to show us the way to minimize risk and enjoy grilled foods that are both flavorful and nutritious.

Follow Chef Paul and Marykaye's tips in this video for creating a healthy steak and veggie dinner, with a fantastic grilled watermelon salad.  And, click here to watch them create a healthy and delicious meal for two of shrimp kebabs and quinoa.

healthy-bbq-sidesBelow are some of Marykaye and Paul’s top grilling secrets for flavorful, nutritious, and safe meals:

  1. Keep your grill clean. A clean grill not only cooks better but it also reduces the amount of carcinogens that will form on your food.
  2. Choosing a low-fat protein like shrimp is heart-healthy and reduces flare-ups, caused by fat dripping onto heat. Flare-ups can cause dangerous carcinogens to form.
  3. Another way to reduce the amount of carcinogens- HCAs and PAHs- that end up in, and on, the meat, slow down the cooking time with a low flame and keep burning and charring to a minimum.
  4. Be certain your food reaches a safe internal temperature. Scroll down for a downloadable .pdf temperature guide to follow.
  5. Studies show that specific herbs like basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage can reduce HCA formation in foods. Thai spices like chili, ginger and turmeric also reduce carcinogens. (Check out chef Paul’s rosemary “brush” in the video)
  6. Choose brightly-colored veggies to grill, like bell peppers, tomato, and red onion. These are packed with antioxidants and flavor!
  7. The USDA recommends making ½ of your plate fruits and veggies- so keep that in mind when building your plate. Fill up that half with tasty grilled veggies and fruit, and the other with a whole grain side, like Quinoa, and your grilled meat.

What are your favorite things to grill? What tips can you share? Would you try this menu and healthy grilling tips at home? Please leave a comment!

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