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The Alaska Club

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3 Ways to Make Your BBQs Healthier

Posted by Elize Rumsley – RD, LD, CDE, MS, PhD. | Jul 9, 2022 11:15:00 AM

To make the most of summer, get together with family and friends for a barbecue. Instead of the usual hamburger, ribs, hot dogs, and sausages, you can be creative and make it healthier by grilling more fish, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables.   By adding fruits and vegetables, you add more color, variety, flavor, and nutrients. You may be surprised to find out that grilling fruits and vegetables can actually enhance their sweet flavor.

Some ideas for barbecue include:
  • Portobello mushrooms instead of burgers. Grill Portobello or other mushrooms with gill sides up over medium-low heat until soft.
  • Make a kabob with colorful vegetables and chicken. Try bell peppers, eggplant, mushroom, onion, zucchini, or cherry tomatoes.
  • Pineapple, apple, watermelon, and peaches are delicious on the grill. Grilling them enhances the sweetness of fruits. Grill fruits on low heat until it is hot and slightly golden.

When grilling meats, poultry, or fish, make sure to avoid charring them as the blackened part produces cancer-forming substances (carcinogens). You can minimize the formation of carcinogens by shortening the cooking time at high temperatures or by avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal.

The good news is that it is unlikely that this will happen to fruits and vegetables. In fact, by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and even some types of cancer.

For more information on healthy grilling, talk with your local registered dietitian.


Grilled Marinated Eggplant Recipe 

(You can make it in a big batch and save it in a jar. You can also try bell peppers too!)


  • 3 medium eggplants
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp red chili
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • Olive oil


  1. Slice eggplant into ½ in thickness and brush with olive oil and grill both sides
  2. Place grilled eggplant in a bowl
  3. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic, chilies, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour over grilled eggplant and rest for 6-8 hours.  
  4. You can make it in a large jar and save it in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. You can enjoy it as a side dish, as a sandwich, as part of an a charcuterie board, or in a salad.


Want more diet adjustments? Read about plant-based diets here or more creative ways to use veggies 

Topics: Nutrition, food, health, Healthy eating, Clean eating, healthy living, cooking, diet, summer

Written by Elize Rumsley – RD, LD, CDE, MS, PhD.

Elize is registered and state licensed, has a BS in Human Nutrition and a MA and PhD in Nutrition Science.

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