Barbecues are very popular during the summer months. Whether at home, with friends or family, here are some tips and information for the most passionate grillers.

The meat

In summer, there is an increase in the consumption of meat, especially red meat, among the population due to barbecues. However, red meat should be consumed in moderation because it is probably carcinogenic. We know that processed meat (cold cuts) is carcinogenic. The current recommendations of the Anses (National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety) aim to limit the consumption of meat to 500 g per week at the most by varying the sources of animal proteins (eggs, meat, fish) and the types of meat. 2 to 3 portions (1 portion = 100-120 g) per week are sufficient.

On the grill, you can also be careful with the type of meat you choose by favoring lean meat over fatty meat. Prefer horse meat, chicken, turkey, rump steak and beef tenderloin, or in the case of pork, filet mignon or escalope. Reduce beef ribs and entrecote, lamb chops, roast or ribs.

When you buy your meat, think about ecology and quality by consuming local food and respecting animal welfare.


Barbecuing is not normally dangerous. However, toxic compounds can be formed and inhaled or ingested if the principles of use and cooking recommendations are not followed. At high temperatures, especially in direct contact with the flame, carcinogenic substances are formed on the surface. Here are some tips (all recommendations are available on Anses - Barbecuing:,pic%2Dniques%20or%20the%20barbecues) :

  • Adjust the height of the grate to at least 10 cm from the embers
  • Prefer the use of clean coal
  • Avoid the fall of fat in the flames (remove the fat, favor lean meats)


Unfortunately, the barbecue season is linked to an increase in hospitalizations for food poisoning caused by a lack of hygiene of the meat. It is therefore recommended to :

  • Do not store leftover food for more than 2 hours at room temperature before refrigeration
  • Regularly clean cooking grills and grease trays (electric barbecues)
  • Cut meat on a different board than for other foods

All the recommendations are available on Anses - Barbecuing


We often accompany our meat with chips, but it is possible to make our barbecues healthier and more balanced by varying our side dishes. It also adds volume to your meal. I suggest:

  • Grilled vegetables or to add to brochettes (summer vegetables: zucchini, peppers, eggplant)
  • Vegetable salads (summer vegetables: tomatoes, arugula, carrots, broccoli)
  • Starch salads (lentils, pasta, potatoes)

To make your meal complete, remember to accompany your meat with vegetables and starchy foods. You can also vary your barbecues with fish which are a good source of omega 3 (sardines, salmon, mackerel). And be careful not to overdo the sauces which are often very sweet and caloric!

You have all the keys in hand to make great barbecues!

Lea De Stefano

HES dietician