Grilling Up a Healthy Independence Day

US flagGrilling Up a Healthy Independence Day

Traditionally, backyard barbecues are set ablaze on the Fourth of July for the purpose of grilling up some mouth-watering, yet waist-expanding and cholesterol-raising hamburgers, hot dogs, and beef steaks. What if you and I broke from tradition this year and instead offered up our families some equally satisfying, but much better-for-you grilling options?

Here are some suggestions for a healthier July 4th BBQ:

I have a wonderful “Italian burger” recipe that I prepare for the grill. Using turkey chop meat (which, granted, can be boring by itself), I make a meatball mix by adding pesto, crushed garlic, a bit of salt and some seasoned (whole wheat) bread crumbs and an egg or two. I form this mixture into hamburger shapes and grill them to perfection!

In another variation of the turkey (or chicken) burger, I sauté a diced, medium onion and then add in some ground horseradish. Forming eight thin patties, I pile a tablespoon of the onions and a tablespoon of grated low fat cheddar in the center of four of those patties. Then I cover each with a second patty and pinch the sides closed. Your family will find these stuffed treats to have much greater appeal than the plain old beef patty option.

Instead of “cow steaks”, try grilling salmon (on a soaked cedar plank), tuna, or swordfish steaks—if your budget allows. The rule of thumb is that less is more when it comes to seasoning and cooking these—as soon as the fish is opaque in the center, it’s done! Top with a dressed mescaline salad and people will forget all about those “not-so-hot dogs”!

Finally, grill up some veggies and fruit to eat alongside your main course. Grilled eggplant and zucchini* drizzled with balsamic vinegar and pineapple slices sprinkled with cinnamon are some of my family’s favorites.

By revamping your barbecue menus you’ll experience Independence Day all year—liberty from the doctor’s office, that is!


*Before grilling, brush eggplant and zucchini on both sides with olive oil to prevent sticking.



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