4 Tips for Healthy Grilling

4 Tips for Healthy Grilling

Key Takeaways

Opt for leaner meats and trim excess fat to enjoy delicious grilled dishes while keeping your heart health in check.
Regularly cleaning your grill ensures better hygiene and taste, preventing old food residues from affecting your fresh ingredients.
Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables on the grill to enhance flavors and add nutritional benefits to your meals.

Healthy grilling allows you to enjoy delicious meals while maintaining a nutritious diet. Many of those who love grilling consider it an art, and the best part is that you can grill almost anything. Be it your favorite protein, vegetable, or fruit, toss it on the grill and let those flavors come to life.

At Dietitian Live, we’re most concerned about your health and happiness. That is why we want you to dive into the tastiest and healthiest meal as soon as it gets off the grill. 

Follow these tips to learn how to satisfy that satiating palette and look out for your system through healthy grilling.

Keep Your Grill Clean

Nothing says summer like a delicious burger! Before throwing that perfectly formed patty on the fire, keeping your grill as clean as a whistle is essential. 

Ensure the rack or pan used to cook your ingredients is scrubbed down before and after each use. This is the key to achieving the highest levels of hygiene and the best taste possible from your meal.

No one wants pieces of food left on your cookware when you’ve just put fresh ingredients on the grill. You wouldn’t want the two to interact and smoke up the entire backyard. Nor would you like your friends to see that just-had-cough-syrup expression on your face when you take a bite of the resulting bitter product.

Best Ways to Clean a Grill

Healthy grilling starts with a clean grill. Maintaining your grill not only enhances the flavor of your food but also ensures a healthier cooking process. Here are some essential steps to keep your grill in top shape:

  1. Preheat and Scrape: After each grilling session, preheat your grill for 10-15 minutes to burn off any remaining food particles. Use a sturdy grill brush to scrape the grates clean. This will make it easier to remove stuck-on food.
  2. Soak and Scrub: For a deeper clean, remove the grates and soak them in warm, soapy water for about 30 minutes. Use a scrub brush or sponge to remove any stubborn residue.
  3. Clean the Interior: Use a brush to clean the interior of the grill, including the burners and the inside of the lid. This will prevent grease buildup and improve the grill’s performance.
  4. Rinse and Dry: Rinse all parts thoroughly with water to remove any soap residue. Dry the grates and interior components with a towel to prevent rusting.
  5. Oil the Grates: Before your next grilling session, lightly oil the grates to prevent food from sticking and protect them from rust.

A clean grill not only enhances the flavor of your food but also extends the life of your grilling equipment. By following these steps, you’ll ensure that your grill is ready for your next barbecue.

Stick to Lean Meat

Let’s get back to that delicious burger we were talking about earlier. You may have been told that the perfect fat-to-lean ratio in a burger is 80:20. Now what if we said you can make an equally juicy and delicious patty in a much healthier manner?

19% of Americans consider the burger their favorite meal to make on a grill. Opting for leaner meats can strike the perfect balance between satisfying carnivorous cravings and keeping a check on fat or cholesterol intake so your heart health stays optimal. A patty with a 90 or 95% lean ratio will taste close enough to the “ideal” burger, and your arteries will thank you for this choice throughout life.

The same goes for any other meats you choose to grill. It is best to trim away the fat from the cut of beef you are using for that perfect steak. With 34% of the meat-consuming population of the US choosing it as their grilling preference, let’s look at how we can make it healthier to enjoy. Trimming the fat of a steak makes it healthier and reduces the chances of burning your prized meat to a crisp.

The same goes for chicken. The recommendation is that the skin be removed before placing it on the fire. Like beef, this also reduces the chances of serving backyard barbecue guests with an excessively burnt meal. The advantages are apparent. You reduce the chance of heart disease, high blood pressure, and bad cholesterol while ensuring your protein is cooked perfectly.

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Set Yourself Up for Success

The preparations made beforehand are just as important as your prowess on the grill. Yes, we are talking about the mythical art of marination. This is a crucial step that makes or breaks the final taste of your protein. 

Regular grillers will know that a longer marinate will allow your herbs and spices to sink into the flavor of the meat. Add this to the health benefit of longer marination fending off the formation of carcinogens and you have yourself a winner. 

Enjoy pre-made marinades or whip up your own by following a recipe like the one below!

Zesty Herb Marinade


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Combine Ingredients: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, thyme, Dijon mustard, sea salt, and black pepper until well-mixed.
  2. Marinate the Meat: Place your choice of meat (such as chicken, beef, or pork) in a resealable plastic bag or shallow dis Pour the marinade over the meat, ensuring it is evenly coated.
  3. Refrigerate: Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably 2-4 hours for maximum flavor.
  4. Grill: Remove the meat from the marinade and grill to your desired level of doneness. Discard any remaining marinade.

Look Beyond Meat

When people hear ‘grilling’, the first thing that comes to mind is a piece of meat sizzling on the griddle – perhaps even a burger patty or a sausage to put on a hot dog. Those so inclined might even venture into putting a delicious fish, or any other seafood, on the fire. Vegetables or fruits are often an afterthought to serve as condiments or sides.

Few know the value grilling fruits and vegetables can bring to your table. Putting fresh produce on the grill makes the flavor pop, adding a whole new dimension to the meal. Also, those avoiding or simply desisting from eating meat need not toss their expensive grilling apparatus out of the window. In addition, this form of healthy grilling requires less time and much less fat than protein.

Best Fruits and Veggies for Healthy Grilling

Fruits and vegetables can also benefit from a little time over the flames. The heat caramelizes their natural sugars, bringing out sweetness and adding a delicious smoky flavor. 

Here are some of the best fruits and veggies to grill for a flavorful, healthy addition to your meal.

  1. Bell Peppers: Sweet and colorful, bell peppers char beautifully and add a vibrant touch to any dish.
  2. Zucchini: This summer squash has a mild flavor and a soft texture when grilled, making it a great complement to many dishes.
  3. Eggplant: With its rich, meaty texture, eggplant becomes tender and smoky when grilled.
  4. Asparagus: Quick to grill, asparagus spears get tender-crisp with a lovely charred flavor.
  5. Mushrooms: Particularly portobellos, which have a hearty, meat-like texture when grilled.
  6. Corn on the Cob: Grilled corn has a sweet, smoky flavor that’s hard to beat.
  7. Onions: Grilling caramelizes their natural sugars, making them sweet and savory.
  8. Tomatoes: Especially cherry tomatoes, which get incredibly sweet and juicy on the grill.
  9. Pineapple: Grilled pineapple becomes even sweeter and has a delightful caramelized flavor.
  10. Peaches: Grilling enhances their natural sweetness and adds a slight smokiness.
  11. Watermelon: This might be unexpected, but grilling gives watermelon a unique, slightly smoky flavor while keeping it juicy.
  12. Apples: Grilled apples become tender and sweet, perfect as a side dish or dessert.

So next time you fire up the grill, don’t forget to include these fruits and veggies. They’re not only delicious but also a healthy way to enhance your meals. Enjoy the fresh, smoky flavors and reap the nutritional benefits.

Get Nutrition Support

Whether you have carnivorous tendencies or are more inclined towards leafy greens and berries, safe and healthy grilling will provide you with a delectable meal. Not quite sure where to start with balancing your diet and grilling techniques? Working with a dietitian can help you incorporate tasty food into your routine while also adopting new healthy habits.

Book an appointment today and let us guide you on the best ways to hit your health goals while still enjoying the foods you love. With personalized advice and expert tips, you can make the most of your grilling adventures and maintain a nutritious, satisfying diet.

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