Guilt Free Grilling Tips

Grilled-FoodWarmer weather means more time spent out in the great outdoors. Why not take your cooking outside as well? Farmers markets are abound with fresh and seasonal options to add flavor to your food without adding inches to your waistline. Follow the tips below to make your grilling season effortless, flavorful, and enjoyable.

Safety first:

1). Always marinate your meat in the refrigerator and not at room temperature or outside in the sun where foodborne illnesses  grow and thrive. Never reuse the marinade either or put it on cooked food.

2). Separate utensils, cookware, and serving dishes that have been in contact with raw food versus cooked food.

3). Make sure ready to eat foods are cooked to an appropriate temperature by using a cooking thermometer. Hamburgers and bratwurst should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, chicken to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and steak to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

4). Do not leave food out to long. Prepared foods should be put in the refrigerator within 2 hours of being put out and within 1 hour when the weather is hot.

Put some pep into your protein:

1). Add no salt seasonings to flavor your meat such as lemon pepper or a Mrs. Dash seasoning of your choice before grilling. Fish tastes delicious with some olive oil and seasoning as well.

2). An appropriate portion size of protein is about the size of a deck of cards. Cut off the fat from your meat before you grill it and purchase lean cuts of meat. Cut larger pieces into smaller ones as well.

3). Use lemon or lime juice, balsamic vinegar, or light Italian dressing to marinate your meat in overnight.

Feast on fruits and veggies:

1). Go to a local farmers market and pick out some fresh fruits and vegetables. Purchase skewers and make some fruit or vegetable kabobs on the grill.

2). Replace pasta and potato salads with fruits and vegetables for your sides. Take your favorite vegetables and put some olive oil and garlic on them, wrap in aluminum foil, and cook on the top rack of your grill.

3). Instead of pies, cakes, or cookies, put some fresh pineapple on the grill.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the weather and your healthy meal and then go for a walk or throw a ball around afterwards!

Grilled Chicken Pita

Makes 4 servings and takes 10 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup fat-free Italian dressing
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 slices eggplant, ½ inch thick
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 plum tomatoes, cored and halved
  • 4 whole wheat pitas, halved


  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Combine the oil, vinegar, dressing, basil, and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Grill the eggplant, chicken, and tomatoes until done. Brush with dressing. Cut each in slices and stuff pita halves.
  4. Wrap in foil and serve warm or chill for later.

Nutrition information: 4 servings, calories per serving: 255, total fat per serving: 6.5 grams, total saturated fat per serving: 1 gm, sodium per serving: 470 mg, Total carbohydrate per serving: 33 grams, fiber per serving: 6 grams, Protein per serving: 18 grams.

Recipe from Guiding Stars,