Cooking Class

Low Calorie Grilling Choices

It’s summer, which means it’s grilling season. There’s a misconception that grilling means heavy calorie meals. But this doesn’t have to be the case!

It used to be years ago that we only grilled during the summer on special occasions. Nowadays we grill year round, for whatever reason we choose. The most common being that we’re hungry. The truth is though that many things we put on the grill are not low calorie, low fat or particularly healthy.

There are some alternatives to this unhealthy fare though. One of the most common things people make on the grill is chicken. To make this more diet friendly stick to skinless chicken breasts. Don’t smother it in high calorie barbeque sauce, use a marinade of light salad dressing instead to add flavor. Simply place the chicken in a Ziploc bag and put in the refrigerator overnight before you cook it.

Hamburgers are notoriously high in fat, especially the ones you buy preformed and frozen. To make a healthy alternative to a high fat burger, make your own. Do not buy the preformed frozen ones. Go to the butcher and ask him to grind his lowest fat beef selection, usually sirloin, for you. Use this to make hamburgers that are much lower in fat. While you’re at it pick up some low fat cheese to put on top and whole wheat buns.

There are now many soy based “meats” on the market. There are substitutions for everything hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage etc. These are an excellent alternative and spiced up are very tasty. Experiment by sprinkling different spices on them. There are many spice mixes available now and they have next to no calories or fat.

Another option is to go vegetarian. Things like portabella mushrooms made on the grill and drizzled with a little olive oil and salt are delicious and you won’t miss the meat. Make kebabs of different vegetables and baste with a little low calorie, low fat salad dressing. I personally like Italian flavored. Sever with some warm whole-wheat rolls and brown rice and you have a great healthy meal.

Desert is always a problem when your grilling and I know in the past I always turned to high fat ice cream or s’mores. While delicious, these are not in any way healthy. Try buying low fat frozen yogurt and putting it in waffle cones (10 calories, no fat), or making some fruit kebabs basted with a small amount of honey to make them a little crispy. You have a great end to a healthy meal.