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A Healthy Grilling Guide To Get Your BBQ Up and Cooking

07/09/2014 12:25 EDT | Updated 09/08/2014 05:59 EDT

With summer here and long sunny days, what's better than a good BBQ? This is one of my favourite things about summer, whether it's a social event with friends or a quick way to whip up a mid-week meal with minimal clean-up. If there's anything stopping you from getting grilling, I want to make sure you've got all the tools to get you out there! Concerned about the safety of this cooking method or just don't know where to start? Read on for the best tools, tips and recipes.

Is it Safe?

You may have heard that barbecuing can produce harmful substances that may increase cancer risk. Rest assured that there are steps you can take to enjoy this delicious cooking method while keeping your health in mind.

Use a marinade-- Studies show that marinating meats reduces carcinogens. Among the best ingredients in these protective sauces... beer and wine!

Limit charring --A bit of charring may be unavoidable but, limit the extent to reduce the formation of cancer-causing compounds. Fattier meats are also more likely to char as the drippings can cause flare-ups that will burn the meat. Stick to leaner cuts and trim fat where possible.

Reduce cooking time-- the less time meat stays on the grill the less likely it is to develop dangerous substances. Don't leave meat on the grill longer than it needs to be. This will also give you a much more tender, enjoyable product. Another tip is to partially pre cook meat before throwing it on the grill.

Best BBQ tools

Grilling Baskets or BBQ woks-- These are game-changers! For those smaller items that would otherwise fall through the grill, these are the perfect solution. It you don't have time to thread your veggies or shrimp through a skewer, toss them in the basket with a bit of oil, lemon juice or spices and they're ready to go.

Meat Thermometer--This one's great if you're new to grilling. Because of the higher heat and quick cooking time, getting your meat just right can be a bit more finicky. Thermometers are a great way to make sure your meat is cooked through without overdoing it.

Cedar grilling planks-- These are the perfect surface for more delicate items as they are stick-proof and will keep things in one piece. Try them for fish to get great flavor or mix it up with a wheel of brie cheese or some herb-crusted goat cheese for the perfect appie.

What to Grill

Barbequing is a simple and healthy cooking method. It gives great flavor without having to add a lot of fat during preparation. The possibilities are endless and some might even surprise you!

Lean meats or vegetarian proteins-- Try loin or round cuts for lean options of pork or beef. Salmon and Trout are great to throw in a tinfoil package with some potatoes, onions and lemon wedges. Tofu skewers or bean burgers add good variety if you're looking to go meatless.

Grilled veggies -- Make veggie skewers with tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and onions or use a grill basket to make a warm vegetable salad. Whole asparagus spears or halved mushrooms also work well.

Grilled fruit -- This one might come as more of a surprise, but grilled fruit is the perfect light dessert to finish off your meal. Try peaches, pineapple or pears and top with greek yogurt, nuts or coconut flakes.

Here are some of my favourite recipes from across the web to inspire you and get you grilling!

Lemon and Feta Grilled Asparagus Salad

Grilled Lime Beer Marinated Chicken

Grilled Nectarines with Ricotta and Amaretti

Melting Middle Aubergine Packages

20 Delicious Vegan Burger Recipes

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