June 26, 2024

Healthy Summer Grilling: 5 Delicious and Nutritious Recipes

By Shauna Lafond, clinical dietician at Elliot Hospital

Summer is the perfect time to fire up the grill and enjoy outdoor meals with family and friends. With a focus on fresh, natural ingredients, it is possible to balance nutrition and wellness goals and enjoy celebrations while including delicious and fun foods. Just keep a few principles in mind. 

Importance of protein 

Eating protein-rich foods is a terrific way to stay full and energized. Protein takes longer to digest compared to carbohydrates, which means it helps you feel full for longer. Additionally, protein plays a crucial role in stabilizing blood sugar levels, preventing the spikes and crashes that can lead to fatigue.  

Use natural sugar 

Limiting overall sugar intake is a smart choice for improving overall health and well-being, even at a barbeque. Natural sugars, found in fruits, vegetables, honey, and maple syrup come packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Honey and maple syrup could be especially good alternatives to highly processed sugars due to their vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content. The fiber in fruits and vegetables can help prevent the rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels often caused by simple sugars, such as those found in candy, baked goods, and soft drinks. Natural sugars can not only satisfy your sweet tooth but also contribute to better digestion, enhanced nutrient intake, and long-term health benefits. 

Pile on the veggies 

Eating plenty of vegetables is key to feeling good both physically and mentally. Vegetables are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health and boost the immune system. Their high fiber content aids digestion, promotes regular bowel movements, and helps maintain a healthy weight by keeping you full and satisfied. Additionally, the nutrients in vegetables, such as vitamin C, potassium, and folate, contribute to better heart health, lower blood pressure, and improved energy levels. The variety of colors and flavors in vegetables also makes meals more enjoyable and nutritious, leading to a balanced diet that supports mental clarity and a positive mood.  

To keep your summer gatherings both delicious and nutritious, here are five healthy barbecue recipes that everyone will love. 

Learn about The Elliot Center for Advanced Nutrition Therapy

1. Grilled Chicken with Mango Avocado Salsa healthy grilled chicken and mango

Recipe Inspired By: https://healthyfitnessmeals.com/healthy-grilled-chicken-mango-salsa-recipe/#wprm-recipe-container-26770  



- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

- Salt and pepper to taste 

- 1 ripe mango, diced 

- 1 avocado, diced 

- 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped 

- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 

- 1 lime, juiced 


1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. 

2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. 

3. Grill chicken for 6-7 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. 

4. In a bowl, combine mango, avocado, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Mix well. 

5. Serve grilled chicken topped with mango avocado salsa. 

 Nutritional Benefits:  

This dish is high in protein from chicken and provides healthy fats and vitamins from mango and avocado. 

healthy grilled veggie kabob2. Veggie Kebabs 


- 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks 

- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks 

- 1 zucchini, sliced 

- 1 red onion, cut into chunks 

- 8 oz mushrooms 

- 1/4 cup olive oil 

- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 

- 1 teaspoon dried oregano 

- Salt and pepper to taste 


1. Preheat grill to medium heat. 

2. Thread vegetables onto skewers. 

3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper. 

4. Brush the vegetables with the olive oil mixture. 

5. Grill kebabs for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until vegetables are tender. 

 Nutritional Benefits:  

This recipe is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber from assorted vegetables, as well as healthy fats from olive oil. 

healthy grilled salmon with lemon and dill3. Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Dill 

Recipe Inspired by: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/grilled-salmon-with-herb-and-meyer-lemon-compound-butter-recipe-1946820  



- 4 salmon fillets 

- 2 tablespoons olive oil 

- 2 lemons, one sliced and one juiced 

- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped 

- Salt and pepper to taste 


1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. 

2. Brush salmon fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Grill salmon for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. 

4. Remove from grill and drizzle with lemon juice; garnish with lemon slices, and dill. 

 Nutritional Benefits:  

Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. The dill and lemon add flavor without extra calories. 

healthy grilled vegetables and quinoa4. Quinoa Salad with Grilled Vegetables 


- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed 

- 2 cups water 

- 1 red bell pepper, sliced 

- 1 zucchini, sliced 

- 1 eggplant, sliced 

- 1/4 cup olive oil 

- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 

- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped 

- Salt and pepper to taste 


1. Preheat grill to medium heat. 

2. Cook quinoa in water according to package instructions. Set aside to cool. 

3. Brush bell pepper, zucchini, and eggplant with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

4. Grill vegetables for 5-7 minutes on each side until tender and slightly charred. 

5. Chop grilled vegetables and mix with cooked quinoa. 

6. Add balsamic vinegar and basil and toss to combine. 

 Nutritional Benefits:  

Quinoa is a complete protein and high in fiber, making this salad a nutritious and satisfying side dish. 

grilled pinapple5. Grilled Pineapple with Honey and Cinnamon  





- 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into rings 

- ½ c honey 

- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 


1. Preheat the grill to medium heat. 

2. Brush pineapple rings with honey. 

3. Grill pineapple for 2-3 minutes on each side until grill marks appear. 

4. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve warm. 

Nutritional Benefits: 

Honey has vitamins and minerals. Pineapple is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes that aid digestion.  

These five recipes not only bring vibrant flavors to your barbecue but also provide a range of health benefits. From lean proteins and healthy fats to a variety of vitamins and minerals, these dishes will help you enjoy a nutritious and delicious summer barbecue. Happy grilling! 



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