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Claire Moshenberg's picture

Traditional canned BBQ fare and potentially hazardous grilled meat can make BBQs feel like a toxic minefield. Luckily, there are plenty of easy ways to keep all of your favorite foods while protecting your health.  

Marinate Your Meat: The process of grilling meat creates compounds called HCAs, which have been linked to breast, prostate, and colon tumor growth. One of the easiest, and tastiest, ways you can reduce HCAs in your grilled meats is to soak meats in a marinade before throwing them on the grill. Choose vinegar or lemon based marinades: Their acidity prevents HCAs from sticking to the meat. Steer clear of sugary marinades that encourage charring; these should only be used in the last few minutes of grilling. And remember to marinate your food in a closed container in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

Wash everything thoroughly: The surface of fruits and veggies can be home to chemicals and pathogens. Rub your fruits and veggies for 30 to 60 seconds under warm running water. Wash inedible peels; even though you discard the peel, cutting into the fruit or peeling the fruit can transfer chemicals into the fruits flesh through your knife. For edible peels, peeling non-organic fruits and vegetables is an easy way to avoid the chemicals that are absorbed into the peel.

Rethink disposables: If you can lose the disposable silverware and plates, that’s great. If you can’t, what about losing one of them? Keep your disposable plates, but use regular silverware. Use the restaurant trick of keeping a bowl of hot water by the sink and dump used silverware in the bowl so it’s rinsed and ready for the dishwasher. Or add dishsoap to the water and give your soapy silverware a quick scrub and rinse when the party is over. Try bamboo or unbleached recycled paper products for dishes and napkins. Save money and use less packaging by buying in bulk.

BPA-Free Baked Beans: Skip canned baked beans and try an easy DIY bean recipe. If you have a crock pot, food blogger Jordan Reid has an excellent five ingredient baked beans recipe with three easy steps: Soak beans over night, throw all of the ingredients in a crock pot, and let the crock pot work it’s magic. If, like me, you don’t own a crockpot, the best way to find recipes online for baked beans that don’t use canned baked beans as an ingredient is to use the search term “Baked Beans from Scratch.” Eden Farms also makes ready-made, BPA free canned baked beans.

BPA-Free Apple Pie: Pass on the canned pie ingredients, and say goodbye to BPA, by whipping up a batch of super easy apple pie filling. This recipe is simple, and adjustable: You don’t have to use whole wheat flour. Skip the peeling part for the apples if they’re organic (but don’t skip washing them!) Use whatever sugar you have on hand. Take out the cinnamon, take out the nutmeg, or add more of both. Use a frozen crust, or make your own.


• 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

• 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

• 1 tablespoon cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon nutmeg

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 6 chopped apples


1) Wash, peel, and chop your apples.

2) Mix the chopped apples with the dark brown sugar, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt.

3) Chop up two tablespoons of butter and stir into the apple mixture.

4) Add the filling to your crust.

5) Before adding the top crust, add the chopped up third tablespoon of butter all over the top of the apple mixture. Add the top crust. Don’t forget to cut slits in the top crust!

6) Bake in a 350 degree oven. The apple pie filling will be cooked through once it starts bubbling through the cracks in the top crust.

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