Why is barbecuing healthy?

Healthy grilling - you should definitely pay attention to this

Our health is important to us. So that nothing goes wrong with grilling and you can enjoy your culinary delicacies without hesitation, we have summarized the most important facts for you.

Table of Contents

quality not quantity

Healthy grilling starts with shopping. Pay attention to fresh products and prefer regional and seasonal fruits and vegetables. When buying meat, good ingredients are a prerequisite for a tasty grill result. Therefore do not buy cheap, but better buy well. If pigs and cattle are kept in a species-appropriate manner and are given natural feed, you will notice this by their taste. Healthy grilling and weight loss also work with meat. You can grill any type of meat you like, as long as you watch out for lean cuts. Of course, fat is a flavor carrier, but you can also cut off the fat edge after grilling.

If you like beef, sirloin steak is a good option. It is cut from the beef hip and delights with its intense taste. Since it is only lightly marbled and quite lean, calorie-conscious grill fans like to grab it here. Poultry is even leaner. It contains little fat, but a lot of protein. It can be used in many ways when grilling - whether in one piece or as a healthy grill skewer. Also as a colorful chicken salad, crispy chicken balls or as a poultry casserole from the Dutch Oven, poultry is a good choice when it comes to healthy food from the grill.

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For beef, pork, chicken and the like, we recommend meat from species-appropriate husbandry. If you like game meat on the grill and paleo, you can get roe deer, stag and wild boar directly from the hunter, the butcher or from the freezer counter. If you want to marinate the venison, rosemary and thyme go very well.

Grilling without smoke

Coal or gas, direct or indirect, with or without a lid - you have numerous options for grilling today. Of course, you also need a grill device for healthy grilling, but which one is the best? Basically: You can grill healthily with any device. Provided you have the right fuel and use it properly. Then there is hardly any smoke or no smoke at all. This applies in particular to gas grills or electric grills. If there is little space on the balcony or on the go, a small gas grill is suitable as a camping gas grill or as a gas grill for the balcony. If you prefer charcoal grills, the indirect grilling method is recommended for healthy grilling. In this way you can cook meat and fish particularly gently.

Wood, coal or briquettes are suitable as fuel. However, wood should be dry, because damp wood sometimes smokes extremely heavily and that is anything but healthy. A charcoal embers develop a strong and even heat with less smoke development. If you want to keep the embers for a particularly long time, it is best to use briquettes. It takes a little longer to light them up, but they glow a lot longer. After the charcoal has burned through and a white layer of ash has formed, the temperature is ideal and you can place the food on the grill.

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With a practical chimney you can bring coal and briquettes to glow quickly. By the way, when buying charcoal, it is worth investing a little more in pure charcoal, because here you can be sure of getting a purely natural product. We recommend charcoal briquettes to keep the temperature constant for a long time. You also need charcoal briquettes for the minion ring method.

Be careful, fat in the embers

Fat that drips into the embers can be carcinogenic. If the fat ignites, smoke and thus more polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) develop on the food to be grilled. To avoid this, many use aluminum trays. But that is also controversial. If acidic marinades or salt are involved and if they come into contact with the aluminum, the aluminum can loosen and thus migrate into the grilled food. This also applies to grilling vegetables, tofu & Co. in aluminum foil. But which grill trays are suitable?

A grill tray or vegetable basket made of stainless steel is ideally suited to prevent fat from dripping into the embers and to prevent aluminum from accumulating in the body. This is completely harmless to health and you can grill healthily. Other alternatives to aluminum bowls are banana leaves, bottled vegetables, or you can use a cast iron grill pan. Even sensitive vegetables such as zucchini and aubergines can be produced in a few seconds instead of being charred directly on the grid.

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Instead of aluminum trays, use grill boards or grill paper. Plant leaves such as cabbage leaves, leaves of corn on the cob or kohlrabi tubers are also ideal for use on the grill. You can find more alternatives in our guide on aluminum foil on the grill.

Cured food, no thanks

Curing salts make meat more aromatic, but they have no place on the grill. Cured meat such as Bockwurst, Wiener Würstchen, Leberkäse and Kasseler do not belong on the grill. Neither do cooked and smoked ham and most raw salsiccia sausages or cured ribs. The curing salts E 249 and E 250 turn into nitrosamines over the hot embers and can increase the risk of cancer. If you want to be on the safe side with packaged grilled goods, then choose Demeter goods. There are no curing additives here.

Grill poultry properly

Chicken, duck and the like are definitely suitable for healthy grilling. Pay attention to meat from species-appropriate husbandry and, if possible, always place pieces of the same size or thickness on the grill. So they take the same amount of time and are done at the same time. Due to the risk of salmonella, poultry must always be fully cooked. Always keep poultry in the refrigerator until they are ready - it's best to bring a cool box with you when you bring it home from the butcher - and wash your hands carefully before preparing it. You wash all work boards, knives, etc. that have come into contact with the poultry hot and thoroughly. You should never serve grilled poultry on plates with the raw meat on.

Light side dishes

Potato salad and pasta salad with mayonnaise, white bread and fatty sauces are anything but figure-friendly. These grill side dishes always taste delicious. Light side dishes for every taste prove that it can be healthier and lower in calories. Fat is a great flavor carrier, but with crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs and vegan legumes you get a lot of flavor. A fresh leaf salad with homemade dressing is a particularly light side dish for grilling: Mix oil, vinegar, spices and herbs and you have a healthy alternative to ready-to-eat dressing that contains calories. Grilled vegetables on a skewer also taste light and have few calories.

Do you love the classic grilled potato? Here the fat lurks not in the potato, but in the dip. Instead of the high-fat sour cream, we recommend a quark dip as a light side dish. Mix together low-fat quark with yogurt and season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs. Tip: The longer you stir, the creamier the dip will be. You can replace potato and pasta salads with delicious vegetable or coleslaws.

You conjure up delicious salads from quinoa, lentils and chickpeas and also offer the vegetarians among your guests a delicious side dish. It's also best to make the sauces yourself: grill sauces based on oil or mayonnaise turn even lean poultry into a calorie bomb. Homemade guacamole, hummus variations and spicy curry creams are better and lighter.

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Instead of white flour, you can also make bread from quark, linseed, ground almonds or sunflower seeds. Low carb breads contain many healthy ingredients and are made entirely without flour in many recipes.

Right of way for vegetables and herbs

Vegetables are the basis of a healthy diet. That's why you don't have to do without your beloved entrecôte. Rich, crunchy grilled vegetables with meat and bring variety to everyday grilling. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can easily manage the recommended 500-600 g of vegetables a day. Onions, aubergines, pumpkin, peppers, zucchini or fennel are suitable as grilled vegetables. They bring color to the grill and boost your immune system at the same time. Broccoli and carrots enrich your barbecue salads and help your immune cells at work. You can find great grill recipes in our guide - "Grilling vegetables - Everything you need to know".

Fresh herbs add flavor to your grilled food. But only season it after grilling, otherwise the sensitive herbs would burn. It is best to keep a small supply of herb pots so that you always have fresh herbs on hand. Rosemary, sage, thyme, basil, oregano and mint are suitable for grilling. In addition to aromatic spices, the healthy herbs contain essential oils, vitamins and minerals as well as bitter and tannins. Enzymes get your metabolism going. Do you want to know more about herbs? Then we recommend “Herbs and Grilling - Our Guide for a Perfect Grilling Experience with Fresh Herbs”.

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Broccoli is full of mustard oil sulforaphane, carrots contain healthy carotenoids. Sun-ripe tomatoes and aromatic peppers score with high vitamin C content, and tomatoes also contain a lot of lycopene - good for the heart and circulation.

Fish makes you fit

This is due to the particularly high-quality protein and the healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Grilling fish is therefore healthy and particularly tasty. Because fish from the charcoal or gas grill tastes incomparably good! Firmly fleshed fish such as sea bream, squid, salmon and redfish or fish fillets, which you can put directly on the grill with their skin, are particularly suitable for the grill. So that the fish does not stick or even disintegrate when you turn it, we recommend practical grill accessories for fish such as a fish roaster or fish basket. Alternatively, you can grill them as fish parcels, pack them in a grill tray or on a grill or smoking board.

Seafood like shrimp, scampi, and squid are also great for grilling. Likewise, lobster, scallops, mussels and clams.When you buy fish and seafood, always look for freshness! Clear, plump eyes, bright red, moist gills and a shiny skin with a clear layer of mucus are indicators of fresh fish. How you grill your fish is up to your personal taste. We also recommend trying new things: tuna tataki, fish skewers or salmon trout from the plank. Tender fish fillets such as plaice fillets are best grilled in a grill tray over indirect heat.

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Always keep an eye on the fish on the grill, because depending on their thickness, fish can be cooked in a few minutes.

Healthy desserts

Must be dessert, right? But after the lavish barbecue enjoyment, high-calorie desserts are usually not in great demand. But you don't have to go without it, because grill desserts are also available with few calories. Fruit on a skewer is always a good idea that children will love when grilling. Apples, pears, nectarines and peaches or pineapples, mango and bananas are well suited. You can grill the fruits solo or mix them colorfully on skewers. You can serve yogurt with the fruit skewers and you have a light dessert that does not burden your calorie account. Fresh strawberries are also ideal as a grill dessert.

If you eat low carb, you can eat dessert without any worries. It is best to stick to berries, you are on the safe side here. Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and currants, blueberries and elderberries are recommended. Papaya, pineapple, apple, pear and honeydew melon are also very suitable for low-carb grilling. Bananas contain more than 15 g of carbohydrates per 100 g, so you have to decide for yourself how strictly you follow the low carb rules. If there is grilled figs at the end of the menu, go for it. Because figs contain a lot of the lightening serotonin precursor tryptophan and not only make you full, but also happy. With around 13 g per 100 g of carbohydrates, they are also suitable for low carb.

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Bananas provide a quick kick of happiness. The magnesium contained relaxes the vegetative nervous system and can lighten the mood.

Homemade drinks and aroma water

Of course, the right drinks are part of the healthy way of grilling. Delicious drinks should not be missing at the barbecue evening, but does it really always have to be with sugar? Water alone is quite monotonous in the long run, refined with vegetables, fruit and herbs it becomes a delicious aromatic water. You can spice up water with fresh herbs that you either have in the herb bed, on the balcony or on the windowsill. Parsley, chives, basil, lemon balm and dill are particularly rich in vitamins and minerals. You can easily spice up smoothies with wild herbs such as dandelion, nettle, ground elder or Grundermann. If you still have a small free corner in the garden, you can plant the wild herbs there. The herbs not only refine drinks, but also enrich smoothies and salads with vitamins and minerals. Herbal butter can also be flavored with wild herbs.

Iced teas are recommended for mild summer evenings. Instead of the sugary variant from the supermarket, you simply make healthy iced tea yourself. In principle, you can make iced tea from any type of tea. Herbal teas, fruit teas as well as black and rooibos teas are ideal. The more intense the type of tea, the less the taste is watered down by adding ice cubes. The classic way to prepare iced tea: boil double the amount of tea as indicated and let it steep according to the instructions. Put a few ice cubes in a glass or carafe and pour the hot tea over them. So you can serve it straight away. If you want to prepare larger quantities of tea, make tea as usual, let it cool down and then put it in the refrigerator. With a splash of lemon you give the iced tea an extra kick of freshness.

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This is how aromatic water and iced tea become eye-catchers: Put small berries or edible flowers in the ice cube tray and place them in the freezer. For fruit ice cubes, you puree fruit or squeeze it with the help of a juicer. Pour puree or juice into small ice cube trays and let everything freeze in the freezer.

Conclusion:

Healthy and barbecuing are not mutually exclusive - on the contrary! Healthy grilling is fun, tastes delicious and gives you a lot of joie de vivre. After all, many healthy foods contain good luck messengers, vitamins, and minerals. You also save calories. Just try it out and invite friends and family to the next barbecue evening under this motto: healthy barbecue - colorful 5-course menu for connoisseurs!