BBQ Grilling Guide

Use this handy BBQ Grilling Guide to help reduce the formation of and exposure to heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s) that can be cancer causing, and may damage DNA.

Choice of Meat

Emphasize leaner cuts of meat. Less fat drippings means less smoke and less exposure to PAH’s. Further, removing the skin from poultry before cooking will reduce HCA formation.

Rosemary Lemon Chicken Breast Recipe 

Avoid over-cooking or charring

The amount of time your meat is heating can matter. Try quicker-cooking proteins like fish or seafood, or cut your meats into smaller pieces to reduce cooking time (meat and/or vegetable kebabs are a great option). Rotate meat frequently to allow the center to fully cook without overheating the surface. Blackened or charred areas of meat can be cut off to reduce exposure to HCA’s and PAH’s.

Remember that slow & steady wins the race! … Learn more >


Marinating meat can bring on flavour and can also be protective against carcinogenic compounds. Acid-containing marinades (e.g., those containing vinegar or lemon/lime juice) are best to reduce formation of HCA’s. It is also important to note that traditional barbeque sauces, which tend to have a high sugar content, can increase formation of HCA’s. If using these sauces, they should be added to foods after they have been cooked.


Try this delicious Ginger glazed salmon recipe – nutritious and delicious!

Add herbs and spices

Some herbs and spices which not only have some health benefits as well as flavour have been shown to significantly reduce formation of HCA’s when meats are grilled. Mint, onion, turmeric, garlic, rosemary, ginger, thyme, and red chili pepper are all great options !!These herbs can be used in marinades, mixed into ground meats, fish or vegetables or used as a dry rub.

Here are a few different varieties to add to your healthy protein options >

Try grilling other food groups

Fruits and vegetables have been shown to inhibit activity of HCA’s and may reduce DNA damage caused by these compounds. Try zucchini, pearl onions, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, apples, peaches, or pineapple.


For more tips on how to add flavour to your Barbeque and decrease your exposure to cancer-causing agents, click here.

Marsha Fenwick, C.N.P.  R.R.T.

Marsha is not your typical nutritionist. She began her career 20 years ago as a Registered Respiratory Therapist. Later, she earned her certifications as a Registered Nutritional Consultant Practitioner, Certified Nutritional Practitioner, and Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner. Marsha is also a Certified Cancer Coach. Her clinical practice specializes in: sustainable healthy weight loss, digestive health, women's hormones, diabetes, heart health, and cancer prevention and recovery. For more information and to book a FREE 15 minute consultation go to

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