Nothing is more quintessentially summer than preparing and eating your food outside. If you haven’t already, it’s time to fire up the grill.

Consider these 5 steps to Healthy Grilling this season:

MIX IT UP!  What you choose to grill is just as important as how you grill it!  There is more to life than hamburgers and hot dogs!!  Be creative with fish, chicken, lean meats, fruits and veggies…all available at Harding’s Markets.  Love a good brat?  Try Harding’s Market Made Brats available in dozens of flavors (selections differ by location).

MARINATE!  Studies have shown that marinating meat, poultry and fish for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling can reduce the formation of potential cancer causing compounds.  Unwanted heterocylclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) form when animal proteins are cooked at very high heat and become charred.  Using a mixture of vinegar, lemon juice or wine along with herbs and spices can be the key in reducing the formation of these compounds.  And adds superb flavor too!  Find some great marinade recipes at .

PARTIALLY PRE-COOK!  Partially pre-cooking meat in a microwave, oven or cooktop can reduce the time of contact with potentially harmful PAHs that may be formed during the grilling process.  To keep food safe from any bacteria that may cause illness, all partially cooked meat needs to be cooked on a preheated grill immediately.

STAY LOW!  In an effort to reduce the formation of both HCAs and PAHs and to minimize any burning or charring, cook your food over a low flame and try to reduce flare-ups by keeping fat and juices out of the fire.  Be sure to cut off any charred portions of the meat before serving.

KEEP IT COLORFUL!  Load up half of your plate with colorful fruits and veggies that are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  By filling up on plant foods, you cut back on high fat animal proteins and processed meat products.  Grilling fruits and vegetables is as easy and delicious as they are healthful!  Check out recipes at .