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May 22, 2015 | 2 minute read

Mediterranean Marinade, Easy Steps for Healthy Grilling

If you’re planning on firing up the grill over Memorial Day Weekend, plan to marinate your food before cooking. Marinating is a centuries-long practice that tenderizes, flavors and preserves vegetables and meat. Some evidence even shows it may reduce formation of cancer-causing substances that are produced when meat is grilled.

Marinating also lets you be creativeMarinating Chicken with Lemon. Usually, marinades use acidic liquids like lemon juice and vinegar, with herbs, spices, garlic and other condiments such as mustard. But marinades contain a culture’s style – rice wine vinegar and ginger in Asia, mango or lime in Central and Southern America, chiles and yogurt in India and lemon and cinnamon in the Middle East.

Marinade ingredients like these are healthy, fat-free and rich in taste. When you marinate meat, poultry and fish, be sure to discard the marinade in which the meat soaked. If you want, before you add it to the meat, set some aside to use for basting the meat during cooking.

Try our Healthy Recipe for Cypriot Chicken Kebabs, featuring a delicious Mediterranean-style marinade with mustard, garlic and oregano, plus zuccchicken-kabobshini, red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes and a lemony dressing. Grilling vegetables (or fruits) does not produce the potentially harmful substances (heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) that form when you grill red meats. That’s all the more reason to load up the grill with veggies and cut back on the meat for lower cancer risk.

Evidence is clear that diets high in red and processed meats increase risk of colorectal cancer. AICR recommends limiting red meat to 18 ounces of cooked lean red meat (beef, pork and lamb) per week and staying away from hot dogs and other processed meats.

Serve a healthy salad and whole grains with your kebabs for a totally healthy Memorial Day cookout.

To find out more, take our quiz: The Truth about Grilling and Cancer Risk.

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