The Skinny on Backyard Grilling

When it comes to grilling, choosing lean meats is only part of the challenge for keeping it healthy – because the wrong grilling strategies can actually cause harmful compounds that we definitely don’t want at our BBQ. So today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on 4 simple steps to ensure nutritious, delicious backyard grilling!


Grilling is linked to the formation of harmful compounds:

  • Grilling meat or seafood over an open flame can form compounds called PAH’s & HCA’s; these compounds are linked to changes in our DNA that can lead to an increased risk of cancer.
  • PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are created from flame-up that occurs when fat drops from meat into the grill.
  • HCA’s (heterocyclic amines) occur when amino acids and sugars are heated to high temperatures.


4 steps to ensure nutritious, delicious backyard grilling:

Keep it Lean

  • Opt for lean cuts of meat + trim visible fat to prevent fat from dripping and causing flame flare-ups
  • Grill poultry with skin-on to keep it moist, but remove skin before eating
  • Add seafood, veggies and fruits to your grilling lineup

Marinate it

Block it

  • Spread aluminum foil onto the grill, adding small holes to allow fat from the meat to drain through
  • Helps to prevent the flare-up from flames below

Mix in Produce:

  • Grilled fruits and don’t produce HCA’s
  • Plant-based meat substitutes + fruits and veggies are linked to a lower risk of cancer
  • Think kebobs, grilled fruit dessert, and grilled veggie “steaks” like Portobello and eggplant




Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in|The Times-Picayune!   And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD