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BBQ Makeover

z6By Elke Probkevitz

The sun has been making an appearance here and there, and when it does, I jump at the chance to step outside and get my grill on. You don’t have to save the grill for a Sunday barbecue; you can make a quick meal outdoors any night of the week. Although grilling implies a healthy way of eating, we get caught up in the family-style spreads at barbecues, and portion control goes out the window. It’s hard to stay focused and realize how calorie-laden barbecue food can be. Here are some ways to switch up the regular barbecue fare for some healthier options.

Hamburgers. Since you should limit your intake of red meat, which is high in saturated fat and calories, replace beef with lean bison, which is full of flavor but has less saturated fat. Other options are turkey or chicken burgers. Pack the meat mixture with loads of flavorful aromatics like herbs, spices, garlic, and shallots for a delicious alternative.

Hot dogs. Hot dogs are a guilty pleasure, but since they typically contain 70% fat—and, combined with a bun contain, a whopping 250 calories and over 15 grams of fat each—you might want to make it just a once-in-a-while splurge. If you can’t have your BBQ without a good old dog, replace it with a poultry sausage made with chicken or turkey that’s full of flavor. Put it on a whole-wheat roll, in a tortilla wrap or romaine lettuce to save even more calories.

Steaks. Well-marbled steak cuts are the most flavorful but the highest in fat and calories, so limit your consumption to once in a while. A good option is to get a large cut of meat and slice it up so you consume a small portion but still get the great flavor of a fattier cut. Skirt steaks and hanger steaks are great for this, but even rib steaks can be sliced up for portion control.

Chicken. Lose fatty chicken wings and drumsticks. Choose skinless chicken breast on the bone or boneless skinless chicken breasts that are marinated, to be infused with flavor. As long as you don’t overcook your chicken, you will have a delicious, freshly grilled low-calorie meal.

Fish. Fish is a great, healthier option on the grill. Choose a fish that is firm and won’t easily fall apart on the grill, like salmon, tuna, or halibut. You can also use cedar planks that impart great flavor while keeping the fish intact on the grill.

Potato salad. When making potato salad, ditch the mayonnaise and opt for grapeseed oil, white-wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard. It will still be a great-tasting, creamy potato salad. Use smashed avocados for a creamy mayonnaise replacement that will combine the flavors of potato salad and guacamole! Another option is to make a sweet-potato salad that’ll be full of vitamins A and C, fiber, and loads of flavor. v


Chicken Skewers


1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 cup almonds, chopped


(Uses 16 wooden skewers.)

In a glass bowl, mix mustard, honey, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Cut chicken into cubes and marinate in mixture for an hour in the refrigerator. Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes. Skewer chicken and grill over medium heat until cooked through, 6–8 minutes, turning in between and brushing with extra marinade. Remove from grill, roll cooked skewers in chopped almonds, and serve.

Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to, or visiting

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Posted by on May 1, 2014. Filed under In This Week's Edition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.