Healthy grilling: meat, fish & vegetables

Grilling is fun and a healthy method of preparation that does not require any additional fat. How much and which meat is advisable and which vegetables from the grill taste great

Healthy grilling: This also includes vegetables from the grill

© Fotolia / Viktor

If you walk past gardens on a sunny weekend, you can often smell the roast from afar: Summertime is grilling time. Well get it, says Dr. Matthias Riedl, board member of the Federal Association of German Nutritionists. Meat has fallen into disrepute in recent years. "It is healthy and provides protein, minerals, trace elements and vital B vitamins." However, it should be enjoyed in moderation and selected and prepared with care.

Meat in moderation - grilled vegetables also taste good

So you shouldn't fish more than 150 grams of meat - which roughly corresponds to the weight of a thick sausage - from the grill, advises the head of a nutritional medicine practice in Hamburg. "The body cannot process more protein at once. The rest is stored as fat." Incidentally, animal protein can be used very well after physical exertion.

Because a meat-rich diet also contains substances such as cholesterol, saturated fatty acids and purines, which in excess can have unfavorable effects, the German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends no more than 300 to 600 grams of meat and sausage products per person per week for adults to consume - with two to four sausages this amount would already be reached.

Better chicken breast than pork neck

Whether pork, beef, lamb or poultry, the nutritionist Antje Gahl from the DGE advises above all to eat lean pieces. "It doesn't always have to be rump steak or fillet - but not always the sausage either." For comparison: while a natural bratwurst has a fat content of around 25 percent, chicken breast and schnitzel are only two percent, chops around five percent and minced meat eleven percent. Solid fish such as tuna, trout or salmon are also recommended.

Nutritionist Riedl advises caution with red meat: "Anyone who regularly eats large amounts of beef or pork increases their personal risk of developing colon cancer - unlike poultry or fish."

Nothing cured from the rust: carcinogenic!

Meat sausage, ham, bacon, sausages, Kassler and Viennese sausages, on the other hand, are cured meat products and should not be grilled, explains expert Gahl. The reason: "At temperatures above 150 degrees Celsius, curing salt reacts with the amino acids or proteins from the meat to form carcinogenic nitrosamines."

Even if fat from meat or marinade drips into the embers or onto the heating coil of the electric grill, carcinogenic substances are formed, the so-called PAHs or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. To prevent this from happening, Gahl recommends placing the food to be grilled in a grill tray if possible. Grill trays made of aluminum or aluminum foil are effective and inexpensive methods of avoiding PAHs. However, aluminum can migrate into the grill food. "In consideration of the risks, however, it is justifiable to use it when grilling meat," says Gahl. In this case, however, it is better to add salt and seasoning only at the end of the grilling process. In addition, meat, fish and sausage products should only be left on the grill for cooking and no longer for keeping warm, because substances that are harmful to health are also produced here: "You should also always cut off black areas."

Overall, the following applies to grilling: the gentler, the healthier. Matthias Riedl considers the American version of the "barbecue" with medium, indirect heat to be more health-friendly than short, sharp grilling over an open fire.

Dessert tip: How about some grilled fruit

After all, it doesn't always have to be meat that's on the grill, emphasizes nutritionist Gahl. "Colorful vegetables such as zucchini or aubergine slices, cocktail tomatoes with olive oil and herbs, mushrooms, corn on the cob, peppers or potatoes also provide color and variety." With fresh sprigs of rosemary or thyme they get the typical Mediterranean note. Pineapple, mango or banana are also suitable for grilling - either directly on the wire rack or in a grill tray, the banana is best with the skin on. You can conjure up a fine dessert in no time at all without any additional effort.