Reduce Cancer Risk, Grill Safely this Father’s Day: Recipes Included


View this WZZM, Take 5 Segment

Today’s In the Cart segment features healthy recipes that will make your Father’s Day dinner a grilling success.  Recipes and food photography courtesy of Sous Chef Bryan Nader.

Eating well done and charred meat on a regular basis may increase your risk of cancer.  Cooking meats at very high temperatures creates hetero– cyclic amines (HA’s), chemicals that may increase risk of cancer.  HAs are created when the amino acids (protein) and other compounds in meat are cooked at high temperature, especially when they are cooked to well done.  It is important to note that HAs are not limited to grilled meats and can occur in pan fried and broiled meats as well. The American Cancer Association has identified the following 6 steps as healthy ways to reduce your HAs when grilling.

  1. Use marinades made with vinegar, citrus juice, or red wine rich in antioxidants.  Studies have shown that marinating meats before cooking reduces HAs from being formed.
  2. Choose lean cuts of meat and trim any excess fat.  Fat dripping onto hot coals creates smoke that contains potential carcinogens.  Less fat means less smoke.  80:20 or extra lean hamburger meat is less apt to cause flare ups and smoke.  Ground chicken and turkey are also excellent, leaner types of meat but may require additional herbal seasonings to appeal to younger palates.
  3. Pre-cook meats ahead of time in the microwave or oven to reduce grill time.  This results in the same great taste without the carcinogens that can form when protein is grilled for an extended period.
  4. Line the grill with foil and poke small holes in it so the fat can still drip off.  This will cut back on the amount of smoke flowing back onto the meat or the charring that occurs from flames.
  5. Avoid charring meat or eating the burned and blackened parts since these have the highest HA concentration.
  6. Add colorful fruits and vegetables.  The carcinogens formed when meat is grilled are not formed during the grilling of fruits and vegetables.  Try this list of healthy options: mushrooms, onions, red, yellow and green peppers, yellow squash, apples, apricot, grapefruit, kiwi, nectarine, peach, pear, pineapple and watermelon.   Keep in mind it only takes a minute to grill fruit and it tastes great with a honey, Greek yogurt and cinnamon dip.

New research also suggests that adding spices may also reduce your cancer risk when grilling due to their high antioxidant content.  Grill safely!

Salmon Burgers:

A regular 4 ounce beef patty, made from 85% lean beef contains the same amount of calories as our salmon version, but adds 60% more fat and seven times more heart clogging saturated fat to dad’s diet.  Salmon, halibut, rainbow trout, and albacore tuna are just a few examples of omega-3 rich fish.  The American Heart Association recommends that we consume two servings of these types of fatty fish per week as they may reduce the risk of heart disease.  Omega-3 oils have been shown to reduce the tendency for arteries to become blocked by lowering the “bad” LDL cholesterol.


Farm-raised salmon are given antibiotics due to their close proximity.  They also have less exercise than their up stream swimming counterparts.  Captivity, combined with their farm fed diet gives them a pinker color, a higher fat content and lower omega-3 content.  We suggest you stock up on the wild caught salmon when it’s on sale.

Ingredients for 4 Salmon Patties:

1lb boneless, skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1” pieces

¾ cup panko breadcrumbs

¼ low fat mayonnaise

3 Tbsp. minced red onion

2 Tbsp. minced, fresh cilantro

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

4 whole grain hamburger buns

Citrus Sauce:

2 Tbsp. minced, fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Zest from 1 orange

2 large heirloom tomatoes cut into 4 slices each


  1. In the bowl of the food processor, pulse the salmon pieces until coarsely chopped. Transfer salmon to a large mixing bowl. To the salmon add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, red onion, cilantro, salt and pepper. Gently stir to combine, and with wet hands form mixture into 4 patties, arrange the patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together the sauce ingredients, except for the tomatoes.
  3. Prepare grill for direct heat. Brush cooking grates with canola oil, and spray patties with non-stick cooking spray. Grill the patties over direct heat with the lid closed for 8 minutes turning half way through cooking.
  4. Remove from grill, serve on whole grain bun with sliced tomatoes and citrus sauce.

Nutrition per Serving: (does not include bun)

Calories 258; Fat 10 g (sat 1 g); Protein 30 g; Cholesterol 76 mg; Sodium 332 mg; Fiber .5 g; Carbohydrate 10 g

AsparagusGrilled Asparagus with a Tomato Feta Salad

Ingredients for 6 servings:


1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ lbs. asparagus

1 pint cherry tomatoes

3 ounces diced whole grain bread

¼ cup crumbled feta

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives


  1. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil to combine.
  3. Remove the tough ends of the asparagus spear, and spread out on a large sheet tray. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. of the vinaigrette mixture and in a medium bowl toss together the tomatoes and bread with 2 Tbsp. of the vinaigrette mixture.
  4. Spread the tomatoes, and bread mixture out in a single layer on a grill pan and cook for 2-4 minutes. Spread out the asparagus on the grill grate and cook for about 6 minutes.
  5. Arrange the asparagus on a large serving platter, top with the tomato and bread mixture, crumble over feta and chives, serve with the remaining vinaigrette.

 Nutrition per Serving:

Calories 174; Fat 12 g (sat 2.5 g); Protein 6 g; Cholesterol 6 mg; Sodium 239 mg; Fiber 4 g; Carbohydrate 14 g

Quinoa ChickenGrilled Chicken with a Mint Quinoa Salad

Ingredients for 4 servings:


2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. ground cumin

2 cloves minced garlic

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


3 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1 ½ cups quinoa

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

3 scallions, sliced thin

¼ cup chopped fresh flat Italian parsley

¼ cup chopped fresh mint

1 tsp. fresh lemon zest


  1. Combine marinade ingredients into a re sealable plastic bag, add chicken, and place into the refrigerator and let marinate at least 2 hours, but up to overnight.
  2. In a medium saucepan heat the chicken broth and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa, reduce heat to a simmer and allow quinoa to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until cooked and liquid is absorbed.
  3. Remove quinoa from pan and toss with salt, scallions, parsley, mint, and lemon zest.
  4. Preheat grill for direct cooking method, remove chicken from marinade and place onto grill grates. Cook chicken for 4 to 6 minutes per side,
  5. Place quinoa on a large serving platter, and top with grilled chicken breast.

Nutrition per Serving:

Calories 223; Fat 8 g (sat 1 g); Protein 16 g; Cholesterol 11 mg; Sodium 660 mg; Fiber 3 g; Carbohydrate 28 g

Grilled PineappleGrilled Pound Caked with Grilled Pineapple

Ingredients for 4 servings::

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 Tbsp. dark rum

5 cups fresh pineapple diced

4 slices of pound cake

Fresh mint for garnish

Non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar and allow to caramelize. When the sugar becomes dark brown in color, remove from heat and carefully add the heavy cream, butter and rum. Stir carefully until the butter is melted.
  2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking.
  3. Grill pineapple for about 3 minutes per side, and grill the pound cake for about 2 minutes per side, turning once.
  4. Cut the cake slices in half, and cross each half piece with the other, top with grilled pineapple and the caramel sauce. Garnish with Greek yogurt and mint.

Nutrition per Serving: (does not include bun)

Calories 360; Fat 15 g (sat 6 g); Protein 4 g; Cholesterol 43 mg; Sodium 130 mg; Fiber 3 g; Carbohydrate 53 g

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