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For a limited time only, use code GRILLING15 at checkout to get 15% off selected Summer Grilling items! ⮞

Summer Grilling Tips

By Cheryl Forberg

It's officially summer and it's grilling season everywhere. I am a big fan of grilled food, not only because of the smoky layer of flavor it adds to anything cooked over a live fire, but also because grilling is one of the few cooking methods (besides baking, broiling, steaming or poaching) that doesn't require added fat.

There's no doubt that barbecues and family picnics can be difficult if you're watching your weight. Sugary barbecue sauces and fatty cuts of meat can kick the calories up fast. But a few simple tips can help you navigate the Fourth of July and other summer feasts without breaking the bank on your diet.

Plan ahead and have a snack or a workout before you go to help you resist high calorie temptations.

If you do overindulge, don't beat yourself up. The next day, jump back in the game. Eat less, work out more - or both!

Take turkey
Choosing four-ounce extra lean turkey burger over traditional ground beef will save you over 150 calories and 20 grams of fat. A four-ounce turkey burger has 122 calories and 1.5 grams fat while four ounces of ground beef (80% lean) has 288 calories and 23 grams of fat.

Learn to love mustard (and other low-cal condiments)
A tablespoon of Dijon mustard has 18 calories with no added sugar or fat while mayonnaise has 57 calories (and 5 grams of fat). Ketchup has the same calories as mustard but may be loaded with hidden sugar. Shop for ketchup in the health food section to find a brand with no added sugar. Some are sweetened with fruit juice or agave nectar instead of refined sugar.

Leave your buns at home
Forgot about rolls or buns made from white flour. If you must have a bun for your burger, be sure to choose one made of whole grains with fiber.

Spray it
Take along a spray bottle of olive oil to keep the grill from sticking, especially when you're cooking lean meats and vegetables.

Marinate 'em
If you're in a hurry, fat-free or low-fat vinaigrettes make great last minute marinades, and they also add flavor when you brush them on grilled vegetables.

Load up
Take plenty of vegetables along to grill with your burgers, chicken or fish. Slice onions crosswise, in ½ inch thick rings. Hold the rings intact while grilling, by first inserting a toothpick in the side. Save any leftover grilled onions to chop in the morning and add to your egg white omelets.
Image of Zucchini
Skewer 'em
Cut other vegetables such as Eggplant, Zucchini or Bell Peppers in even-sized pieces and thread them on skewers with Mushrooms or Cherry Tomatoes. When they're all the same size, they'll cook at the same rate. Use leftover veggies the next day to make flavorful salads.

Spear 'em
Wrap medium-size raw asparagus spears in a thin slice of lean turkey breast and grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until the asparagus is just done.

Go fish
Salmon, halibut and mahi-mahi are great grilling choices as they're thick, firm and easier to turn on the grill. Delicate thinner fish can still be grilled but you'll need to purchase a special grilling basket to help you turn them.

Grab 'em
A good pair of tongs is an indispensable tool for turning or removing hot items from the grill. Be sure they're long enough to keep your hands away from the high heat.

Have dessert
Grilling fruit is a best-kept secret! When the coals have died down and the heat is low is the best time to add raw fruit to the grill. Be sure not to use overly ripe fruit or it will stick and burn. Try peach or pear halves or slices of pineapple (not too thin). Be careful of your serving sizes here - keep them small and save the leftovers.

For more nutrition and cooking tips, visit Cheryl's website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Here is the perfect recipe to accompany your next summer Q!

Crispy Crunchy Cole Slaw
This scrumptious slaws comes together in minutes. For a southwestern flair (or to serve with barbecue), whisk in a little chili powder and chipotle puree.

Yield about two quarts or 8 servings


¼ head Green Cabbage, finely shredded
¼ head Red Cabbage, finely shredded
¼ head Napa Cabbage, finely shredded
½ Maui Onion, fine julienne
½ Bell Pepper or 3 Sweet Veggie Peppers cut in fine julienne

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon Mayonnaise
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon Plain Nonfat Yogurt
2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
1 tablespoon Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon Chipotle Puree (optional)
1 teaspoon Chili Powder (optional)
Salt and freshly Ground Pepper

Italian Parsley or Fresh Cilantro

Image of pouring dressing into salad ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the slaw ingredients.
Image of coleslaw
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.
Image of served coleslaw
Nutrition Facts per one serving

Calories 120
Fat Calories 80

Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 85
Total Carb 8g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 5g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A 15% RDA
Vitamin C 80%
Calcium 6%
Iron 6%
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