Grill Without Guilt!

bbqSummer is the perfect time to use your grill. However, concerns have emerged recently about potentially cancer-causing compounds: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These compounds form when fat from the meat drips onto the hot coals or grill element, and then get deposited on your food. There are healthy ways to grill, though! Follow these tips to grill without guilt:

  1. Grill fruits and vegetables. PAHs and HCAs don’t form on grilled fruits and vegetables. Some fruits and vegetables that are great to grill include, but are not limited to, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, endive, pineapple, plums, mango, apples, and pears.
  2. Use lean cuts of meat to limit the amount of fat that drips down.
  3. Marinate your meats, fish, poultry, fruits, and vegetables in wines, vinegars, lemon or lime juice, low-sodium soy sauce, honey, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices. Marinating reduces the fat that drips on coals, which can reduce HCAs by 92-99 percent in some studies.
  4. Grill smaller portions of meat, poultry, and fish so that they cook faster and spend less time on the grill. You can also thread small pieces of meat or fish on a skewer to cut down on grilling time.
  5. Flip your foods on the grill frequently to help prevent the formation of HCAs.

For information on complimentary community classes, group nutrition classes, and individualized nutrition counseling, contact the Ripa Center’s registered dietitian, Linda Gavrielov, at 856.673.4923 or e-mail  her at

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