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Is the George Foreman Grill a Healthy Alternative?

author image J. Lucy Boyd
J. Lucy Boyd, RN, BSN has written several nonfiction books including "The Complete Guide to Healthy Cooking and Nutrition for College Students." She is frequently called upon to provide career guidance to medical professionals and advice to parents of children with challenges. She also loves teaching others to cook for their families.
Is the George Foreman Grill a Healthy Alternative?
Grilled eggplant is healthy and delicious. Photo Credit grilled eggplant image by citylights from Fotolia.com

Modern cooks have a variety of cooking methods at their disposal. The typical American home has a stove and oven for boiling, baking and broiling as well as a microwave for accelerated cooking and reheating. Many homes have an outdoor grill, slow cooker, steamer or fryer. The George Foreman grill allows indoor grilling with a minimum of preparation and clean-up. Several types of competitor grills are also available. These indoor grills offer several healthy benefits.

Appliance Basics

George Foreman grills come in a variety of sizes, making it possible to cook one entree or a meal for a large family, depending on your needs. The average Foreman grill lacks a temperature control, so it's either "on" or "off." The grills have a heating surface that delivers heat to the top and bottom of the food simultaneously. The heating surface is slightly angled to allow grease to run off, rather than being retained in the cooked food. The cooking surface doesn't require oiling prior to use. The grill leaves attractive grill marks on the food, just like an outdoor grill.

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Typical Uses

Buyers frequently use George Foreman grills to cook meat, such as steak, pork chops and hamburgers. You can also use it to cook boneless chicken breast, fish fillets, hotdogs, sausage, breaded meat and chicken patties and strips of meat and poultry. Creative cooks use the grill to prepare fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, apples, peaches, pears, pineapple, eggplant, zucchini, onions, peppers, carrots, squash and mushrooms. You can put bread on the grill briefly for added flavor and grill marks.

Healthy or Unhealthy?

Foreman grills cook food without added fat and they reduce the amount of melted fat surrounding meat or poultry as it is cooking, versus skillet or oven preparation. This method reduces overall calories and saturated fat content by allowing the grease to drain off.

If the food is cooked appropriately and removed from the grill when done, it may be healthier than food cooked on a charcoal grill that has been licked by flames or overcooked in places, because it has less opportunity for potentially harmful heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, to develop. According to the National Cancer Institute, outdoor grilled meat and poultry may also contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which may be carcinogenic. Using the George Foreman grill instead may reduce your exposure to these compounds.

Nutritious Grilling Ideas

Try preparing an entire meal on the Foreman grill, cooking animal products separately from fruits, vegetables and bread. Trim all visible fat from meat and remove skin and excess fat from chicken breasts. Prepare all food items by slicing them to a thickness of no more than 1 inch. For maximum nutrition, avoid breaded items, hotdogs and other items high in white flour or fat but low in nutritive value. Instead, prepare a variety of fruits and vegetables for extra vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

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