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Tips for the backyard barbecuer

Summer is finally here! Let’s fire up the backyard grill and give it the welcome it derserves.

Because of its high temperature cooking method, grilling requires less cooking fat. However, beware of the classic hamburger, hot-dog and potato salad. They are far from being the healthy, well balanced choices! So, here’s a short guide to help you better plan your next barbecue.


Choose leaner cuts of meat. Limit your intake of ribs (they are slathered in sauce) and sausages as their fat content outweighs their protein value. On the flip side, grilled chicken and fish should be favoured.

Portion control. It’s common knowledge that a proper meat portion is about the size of your palm. Knowing this, an average T-Bone steak can easily feed 2 people! Also, this would mean that a single hamburger usually contains a sufficient protein content. If this somehow seems insufficient to feed your hunger, opt  for a more generous portion of vegetables instead.

Think veggie. Once again, less  fatty than meat, the vegetarian choices are a nice change and are just as delicious.Try a vegetarian burger (there are many great recipe on line or simply pick them up at the grocery store), a marinated tofu kebob, or a great legume salad with julienne zucchini and grilled Shiitake mushrooms.


Limit the fatty choices. Ahh, those french fries, and those pasta an potato salads drenched in creamy dressings!

Choose one of these options instead. They are so easy to grill!

  • Potatoes pre-cooked in microwave, sliced in half with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with your favourite spices.
  • Naan or crusty bread, garlic-rubbed and slightly drizzled with olive oil.
  • Cubed potatoes en papilotte (foil-wrapped), with large onion segments and several garlic cloves sliced in half.

Don’t forget corn on the cob! 3 ears of corn count as 2 serving portions of starches, same as 2 slices of bread or 1 cup or rice. Just be careful with the butter and salt on that corn on the cob.


A vast variety of vegetables. Summer is synonymous with fresh produce. Whatever you’re grilling, serve it with a freshly tossed salad of greens, some raw or grilled veggies, a shredded cabbage or a broccoli salad. But, beware of the creamy mayonnaise-based salad dressings which are often richer than the oil-based variety. If the creamy salad dressings are what you prefer, simply substitute half the mayonnaise with plain Greek yogurt.

Liquid refreshments

Drink in moderation. Like many of us, nothing says summer better than an ice cold drink…sangria, beer, tropical drinks and other alcoholic beverages! Although these drinks may seem refreshing, alcohol will dehydrate you (due to its diuretic effect). Be sure to drink more water, sparkling or flavoured, in order to compensate. Also, keep in mind that alcohol, fruit juices and syrups found in cocktails or sangria will fill you up on empty calories without satisfying your hunger. Therefore, remember to drink in moderation!

Do you have any healthy warm-weather grilling tips?

By Julie Brousseau, Dt.P.


Julie Brousseau

Julie’s passion for health and the environment was clear at an early age. She discovered her passion for nutrition when she substituted ingredients to make healthy homemade muffins. Now a graduate of the University of Montreal and a nutritionist at Nautilus Plus since December 2016, Julie shares her knowledge and her passion for healthy cooking with her colleagues and clients alike, as well as through her own personal blog. In addition to using her flair and creativity in the kitchen, Julie expresses her artistic side through competitive contemporary dance. She is the first to say that staying fit and eating well should be a pleasure and not a chore! Julie Brousseau, Dt.P.

Tips for the backyard barbecuer is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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