Whether you live somewhere that’s nice all year round, or warm weather is a treat you look forward to all winter… summer just isn’t summer without firing up the barbeque. Whether you use a classic charcoal grill, a gas burner, or even one of those fancy new pellet grills, at the end of the day – it’s all about spending time outdoors with people you care about, and then rewarding everybody with a delicious meal.

grill healthy bbq

Burgers and Kebabs on Barbecue Grill

Here are five things you should consider which will take your next grilling session to the top level, not just in terms of taste, but in also when it comes to health.

5. Keep it clean

Let’s go over a few universal tips that extend far beyond just burgers. For starters, make sure you’re careful when handling raw meat, cross-contamination can still occur on the way to the BBQ, or even if you’re using the same tools for both raw and for cooked meat. Next up, keep your grill clean – this allows for a smoother operation, and discourages insects from seeking out chunks of leftover food on the grill which can be downright de-appetizing. Save some heat to give your grates a good scrape after each use and you’re well on your way.

Cleaning instructions will vary, for instance a charcoal grill will need frequent cleaning compared to other grill styles, and the pellet grill, which has been getting a lot of attention lately for a unique smoky taste thanks to an offset firebox, might be one of the easiest to keep clean, and also one of the most versatile grills.

Anyways, we’ll save the in-depth grill maintenance talk for another day, right now let’s communicate in the universal language of burgers.

4. Hold the fillers

If you’re making burger patties and using eggs, breadcrumbs, onions, anything else… you don’t need any of that stuff. You might as well be making a meatloaf, because that’s not a hamburger. If your burgers are falling apart without all of that extra filling, it’s because you’re probably using too lean of a cut. Look for ground chuck, ideally with a 20% fat ratio. The meat will stick together perfectly, and you won’t need to add any extra calories like eggs or bread crumbs.

3. Ditch the sauces

Loading up a patty with BBQ sauce, which is notoriously sweet and filled with calories, will drown out the actual flavors from the meat. Instead, season it with a generous portion of salt and pepper, because these flavors will complement and draw out more taste from the burger, rather than covering it up.

On top of that, when you’re dressing your bun, a slice of cheese and a blob of mayo could easily add an extra 200 calories, and they’re both simple to replace with much more flavorful alternatives while still enjoying the same texture and composition.

2. Exotic burger toppings

But obviously, you still want more on your burger than just bun and beef, so here are some tips to replace those sauces with fruits and vegetables that will add more kick, and be much better for you.

Slice up a pineapple in discs, toss those on the grill, and they make an excellent burger topping that adds some texture, depth, and a bit of a zing – and say goodbye to the cheese. Next up, why use mayonnaise when you can use avocado instead? Granted, it won’t save you very many cals, but it’s a healthier kind of fat and has infinitely more nutrition than a spoon or two of mayo.

1. Keep an eye on those buns

There’s a countless amount of options when it comes to buns, from a 9-grain whole wheat burger bun to something like a buttery brioche, and everything in between. The difference in the nutritional information from one bun to another can be staggering. A small “burger-first” style bun (which, if you haven’t heard of it before, is a thin type of bun meant to leave more room to emphasize the toppings) could have as little as 80 or 90 calories, whereas a brioche bun could have 400 or more.

If you really want to go all-in, you can even use a large piece of lettuce instead of a bun – this is something we’ve been seeing more and more often in newer-style burger joints, where the emphasis is on quality ingredients and mindfulness about one’s food.

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding what works for you, and as long as you’re in the nice weather with friends and family, just about anything will taste good. The way we see it, the healthier you can make your burgers while remaining delicious, the more often you can spend eating them, and that’s always a win, right?

Please check out The Ultimate Grilling Bible


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