A close up of some food on the grill

Grilling Tips and Recipes We Love

Here’s how and what to grill this summer for balanced energy and weight loss.

Grilling season is in full swing and we can’t get enough of it. Why turn on the stove or oven when you can be outside, creating fresh, fast clean-eating meals?

Smarter Grilling Techniques

Black lines: Grilling at high temps creates heterocyclic amines (HCAs) which appear as the black charring. They are bad for you (carcinogenic) and are created when you grill muscle meats: beef, pork, lamb, turkey, chicken and fish. This is because the amino acid creatine in the meats causes the HCAs.

Gas over charcoal: For safety, gas grilling is considered safer than charcoal because it creates less smoke and doesn’t get nearly as hot as the charcoal grill, limiting HCAs.

Watch the temps: If a food is supposed to be cold, then don’t let it sit on the counter for too long. If a food is supposed to be hot, don’t let it sit on the counter for too long. Food should be made and served, and promptly put away to ensure it is at the right temp and there is no bad bacteria growing. Cold foods should remain below the temperature of 40 degrees and hot foods should remain above the temperature of 140 degrees. A food thermometer will tell you for sure.

Cross contamination: Wash cutting boards/utensils and do not co-mingle raw meats with cooked foods.

Grilling Basics:

  1. Use a gas grill if possible (Start with a clean grill)
  2. Avoid cross contamination by using different cutting boards, utensils and plates
  3. Spice your food instead of full marinade, so you don’t create extra flame from excess oils/liquid to avoid the charring
  4. Try to avoid the black charring, add more veggies, less meat
  5. Be mindful of the temperatures of food when serving

Grilling Recipes We Love

Greek Chicken Kabobs
From thecleaneatingcouple.com
Prep Time 15min I Cook Time 15min I Serves 4 people

1 lb chicken breasts cut into 1.5 inch cubes
2 cups bell peppers cut into cubes (about 2 peppers)
2 cups red onion cut in 1 inch segments
2 cups zucchini sliced 1 inch thick (about 2 zucchini)

Spice Blend
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice juice of one lemon
½ tablespoon lemon zest zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional

Chop chicken into 1 ½ inch cubes. Chop veggies to about the same size. In a large bowl, mix your spice blend. Add chicken and veg. Stir together until evenly coated-let sit for at least 20 minutes. Once the chicken/veggies have sat in the mixture – preheat grill to medium-high heat. Assemble skewers. Grill on medium high heat for 5 minutes, flip and grill for another 5-10 minutes until chicken is browned and cooked to 165 internal temp.

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size 1 ½ cups of chix and veg I Calories 247 I Carbs16g I Fat 9g I Protein 27g

Chili Lime Shrimp
Prep Time 5 minutes I Cook Time 10 minutes I Serves 2

1 lb shrimp deveined, shell and tail on
2 tbsp avocado oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp lime zest (zest of 1 lime)
Guacamole for serving

Preheat grill to 375 (medium-high heat). Combine avocado oil + spices. Toss shrimp with spices, let sit for least 10 minutes. Add shrimps on to skewers. Place on grill and cook for 5 minutes. Turn, cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve shrimp with guacamole for dipping, on a salad, or with sides.

Nutrition Facts: Serving size 8 ounces shrimp I Calories 350 I Fat28g I Protein 46g

Grill More Plants
Veggies are so easy and delicious grilled. Here are two of our favorites.

Grilled Cabbage Steaks
From eatthegains.com

1 large head cabbage
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
For topping: ranch, BBQ sauce, fresh herbs, balsamic dressing

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile prep and was the cabbage and cut the stem so it stands up. Slice the cabbage into 3/4-1 inch thick pieces. Drizzle both sides with oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Grill cabbage. Place cabbage directly on the grill grates over direct heat. Grill cabbage for 5-8 minutes, turn and grill for another 4-6 minutes depending on the thickness.. Once done, it should be tender on the inside, but crispy on the outside.

Serving: 1 steak | Calories: 86 cal | Carbohydrates: 11.6g | Protein: 2.6g | Fat: 4.4g

Grilled Mixed Veggies
Prep Time 15 minutes I Cook Time 15 minutes I Serves 4 to 6

8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced in half
8 ounces green beans
2 bell peppers, sliced
2 small zucchini or yellow squash, cut into bite sized triangles
1 medium red onion, quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, grated
½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees). Chop all of the vegetables into large pieces. Toss them with 2 tablespoon olive oils and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Add the vegetables directly to the grates and cook for 14 to 17 minutes, turning every few minutes. When vegetables are tender, remove them to a bowl. Cook times may vary, so may have to pull some veggies off before others. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together 1 tablespoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt with the balsamic vinegar, grated garlic and fresh rosemary. Stir to combine.

Final Grilling Thoughts
When making these recipes (and all recipes, really) choosing quality ingredients can make or break the meal. We picked these recipes because they are filled with lots of veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats. It’s best to choose recipes to meet your health goals. These recipes are great for continuing a diet that will give you balance, energy, fullness, color and texture. It should also help with continued weight loss and management. Enjoy your grilling!

Special thanks to healthline as well as acouplecooks, eatthegains and thecleaneatingcouple for grilling recipe info and inspiration.

For more summer recipe ideas and tips on healthy summer eating, visit us at healthynestnutrition.com/blog.

For more info on feeling your best through smarter food choices, contact our holistic nutritionists. Book a complimentary 20-minute consultation with Healthy Nest Nutrition owner Robin Hutchinson to see if our programs are right for you.