POPSUGAR Celebrity

Ellie Krieger's Top 10 Tips For Healthy Grilling

Jun 15 2010 - 6:50am

When I chatted it up [1] with Food Network host and nutrition expert Ellie Krieger last week, she had plenty of suggestions for staying healthy during the coming months of Summer entertaining. In addition to discussing Father's Day [2] meals, the Chefs Move to Schools program [3], and the new Cooking Channel [4], I asked Ellie to share her top cookout tips.

Here are 10 of Ellie's ways to get healthy while grilling up a storm.

Work the dry rub.

Unlike wet marinades, dry rubs — which don't contain any syrups or oils — add punch but no calories. Ellie likes "rubbing a meat with a dried chile rub with garlic, cumin, and whatever else in my cabinet inspires me."

Use lean cuts of meat.

"Grill equals fatty meat to a lot of people," Ellie says, "but it doesn't have to be that way." To keep your feast hearty, try a lean meat such as flank steak, New York strip, or sirloin. She recommends using meats that are ">90 percent lean or higher [5] — cuts that usually include the words "loin" or "round" in the name.

Control portions.

A healthy portion of meat, fish, or poultry is three ounces, approximately the size of a deck of cards, or the size of a palm (minus the fingers).

Make tacos the star of the meal.

"One of my favorite things to make are soft tacos," says Krieger. "They help keep the portions smart." Opt for small, soft corn tortillas, which are less gut-busting than their deep-fried crispy and larger flour counterparts.

Keep it fresh with mix-ins.

When making meat tacos, incorporate toppings that enhance texture and flavor without extra grease or sugar. Examples include shredded cabbage or lettuce, chopped fresh cilantro leaves, and a squeeze of lime.

Think outside of the burger bun.

Standard cookout fare like burgers and sausage aren't the only kids on the barbecue block. Choose lighter options [6] like salmon or skewered shrimp, which both take well to the intensely smoky flavor of grilling.

Slice meat thinly.

Krieger recommends slicing meat superthin along the bias. Cutting against the grain will ensure your protein isn't stringy; thin slices help with portion control, but give the illusion of more volume.

Add flavor, not fat, to carbs.

Pick a fit-friendly carb — like whole-wheat tortilla or pita bread — and throw it over the flame [7] for phenomenal charred flavor.

Serve healthy vegetables on the side.

Krieger recommends something fun and fresh, such as grilled corn, which adds to the outdoor entertaining mantra of eating with your hands. If corn isn't your thing, try skewers of barbecued bell peppers, zucchini, and Summer squash.

Make your own condiments.

Rather than reaching for store-bought ketchup, make it yourself [8] to control the quality and quantity of the ingredients. When making ketchup [9], use nutrient-rich molasses as a sweetener, rather than high fructose corn syrup.

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