Can it be a healthy barbecue?

Barbecues are a very widespread practice with the arrival of summer. The heat, the good weather and the hours of sunshine make outdoor outings with friends and family proliferate while we enjoy varied dishes cooked on the grill.

Can it be a healthy barbecue?

"In a typical barbecue a lot of meat is consumed, especially red", confirms the person in charge of Nutrition at Nestlé, Laura González. Most of these meats and sausages (bacon, sausage, blood sausage, chorizo) contain a lot of fat, to which must also be added the consumption of sauces and alcohol (beer, wine or red summer).

Can it be a healthy barbecue? / Pexels

The recommendations indicate that this type of food and drink should be consumed as little as possible so that it does not become our usual routine. "We must remember that the food and beverages we take daily have an impact on our health," says González in "El Bisturí."

To make barbecues healthier, the nutritionist gives five tips:

Choose the main dish well. We must prioritize lean meats and fish over sausages and fatty meats.

Use seasonal vegetables. "Grilled vegetables are delicious, and better if they are from proximity", Laura González emphasizes. In addition, in this way we provide fiber, vitamins and minerals, and we contribute to the recommended servings of vegetables.

Appetizers, entrees, and sauces should be light, and made primarily from vegetables. For example, a sauce might be cucumber and spiced yogurt.

Reduce the consumption of sugary drinks and dispense with alcoholic beverages (beer, wine and tinto de verano).

Desserts should be fruit-based. In this way we will be able to comply with the fruit consumption recommendations.

The best meats

When selecting meats for the barbecue, "the low-fat parts of the pork and chicken are good options, although we can also select lean cuts of veal and beef", reports the head of nutrition.

From the pork, Laura González selects the part of the loin and the rib. When it comes to cooking, "these parts usually take about ten minutes to be done on the barbecue on each side and must be done at a distance from the embers of approximately 10 centimeters," he says.

"Veal and ox (ribeye, entrecote, hamburgers, sirloin) are the star dishes", underlines the specialist. However, it is red meat and it is important to select lean cuts. If they are minced meats, the nutritionist insists on reading the label to select those that contain more meat and less fat. As for the cooking time, it takes between 2 to 5 minutes for each side.

Can it be a healthy barbecue? / Pexels

Toxic substances in barbecues

"Cooking food at high temperatures produces chemicals that can be harmful especially when food comes into direct contact with fire." Among the compounds with negative effects on health are acrylamide and others less known, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, both related to different types of cancer.

To reduce the content of food cooked on the barbecue in these toxic substances, Laura González gives some recommendations:

In any case, it is important to bear in mind that if the consumption of barbecue food is done sporadically, it should not worry us too much. "The health effects of exposure to any dangerous substance will always depend on the dose, duration and time of exposure", remarks the nutritionist.

Arymel García

Editor of Passionate about nutrition and healthy living, I have been a content creator for 8 years.+ info

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