Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Friday, May 29, 2015

Healthy Grilling

Grilling season is here! Have you heard of the link between grilled meats and increased cancer risk?  According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), there isn’t enough evidence to show that grilled meats specifically increase risk for cancers. However, grilling contributes to formation of polycyclic aromatic amines (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which are cancer-causing substances.

Grilling tips from AICR include:

• Eat smaller portions of grilled meats. Stick with 3-oz. portions or less.  A 3-oz portion is about the size of a deck of cards.  Kabobs are a great way to help your make your meat go further and add healthy vegetables and fruit.
• Precook meats and then finish on the grill.

• Use lean cuts of meat and trim any visible fat.

• Try a marinade.  Research suggests that marinating meat significantly reduces the formation of harmful HCAs.

• Grill vegetables and fruits, which do not develop harmful HCAs when grilled, but do contain beneficial antioxidants and phytochemicals which protect against cancer.

• Always include plenty of fruits and veggies with all meals to fight cancer and boost intake of vitamins, minerals and fiber too.

For more information and healthy recipes, visit

With asparagus season upon us, here is a grilled asparagus recipe from Cooking Light’s website

Grilled Asparagus Rafts

Pinning asparagus spears together with skewers makes them easier to flip and grill evenly on both sides.
16 thick asparagus spears (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of salt
Prepare grill to high heat.
Snap off tough ends of asparagus. Arrange 4 asparagus spears on a flat surface. Thread 2 (3-inch) skewers or toothpicks horizontally through spears 1 inch from each end to form a raft. Repeat procedure with remaining asparagus spears.
Combine soy sauce, oil, and garlic; brush evenly over asparagus rafts. Grill 3 minutes on each side or until crisp-tender. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds, pepper, and salt.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 asparagus raft) Nutritional Information Amount per serving:        Calories 50   Fat 2.1 g   Protein 3.2 g   Carbohydrate 6.1 g   Fiber 2.4 g   Sodium 190 mg

Contact Theresa Stahl, Outpatient Community Dietitian at 240-964-8416 or with questions or to find out about upcoming nutrition programs.