5 Shortcuts for a Healthier Summer Cookout
Spending time outdoors takes some preparation. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to help you prepare for any cookouts, barbecues, and pool parties this season. So you can focus on what’s really important… Enjoying the company of family and friends.
Here are five shortcuts for healthier summer cookouts.
1. Grill for Safety…and Speed
It’s not just beer marinade that prevents grilled meats from forming carcinogenic compounds… Pre-cooking can further limit the amount of cancer-causing chemicals formed on the grill. Like heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). You and your hungry guests will enjoy the faster cooking time too.
Start with grass-fed beef or organic, free-range chicken. They should be free of any antibiotics or hormones. Bake it most of the way in the oven. Then finish it on the grill right away to prevent bacteria from moving in.
2. Add Color to the Menu
That’s not the only way you can fight cancer on the grill… Antioxidants in vegetables can help soak up any toxins left behind on your meats. So toss some on the grill as well. This also helps bring out their natural sweetness.
Zucchini—rich in vitamins A, B, and C—is a great choice during summer. It’s also sturdy enough to hold together on the grill. Put it on a skewer along with eggplant and red peppers. This combo packs a healthy dose of antioxidants like lycopene and nasunin. Together, they fend off cancer-causing free radicals—and add more flavor to your plate.
3. Keep Your Dips Quick
Swimming pools can be full of harmful chemicals… Like chlorine, bromine, and their byproducts. It only takes about 40 minutes for them to start damaging your DNA. So just make sure you keep your pool sessions to 30 minutes or less.
And remember, exposure to pool chemicals doesn’t end once you get out of the water… So be sure to rinse off when you get out.
4. Pick “Sun Smarts” Over Sunscreen
Sunscreen may seem like the safest way to protect yourself from the sun… That’s because the companies that make them spend millions of dollars a year to keep you believing it. Yet most sunscreens block out beneficial UVB rays… The ones that help you produce vitamin D. This leaves you wide open to damaging UVA rays.
A better idea? Skip the sunscreen. If you start turning pink, get in the shade… Don’t wait to until you’re already red. Try to go from sun to shade every 15–20 minutes. This is the best way to prevent a burn. But the red peppers you threw on the grill will also help protect your skin. They’re full of antioxidants that defend against sun damage.
5. Kill Pests…Not Brain Cells
Where there is food… There will be pests. Your first instinct may be to reach for a can of bug spray. Don’t. Many of them use DEET as their active ingredient. And the longer a product claims to keep bugs off of you…the more of this chemical it likely contains. This insect repellent may cause strange rashes and—in rare cases—aggression or confusion.1
These cases were from longer exposure… Like going to sleep with it on. But why risk it? Use essential oils instead. Mix citronella, peppermint, and tea tree oil with witch hazel and distilled water. Bugs hate it… And it smells great. Unlike store-bought bug sprays.
These don’t require much planning—or work—either. Even something as easy as grilling the right vegetables can be a big step in protecting your health. Let us know which one you’re going to try this weekend.