Summer is for Grilling! Happy 4th!

By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA

Happy Independence Day!  There’s nothing like an outdoor barbecue to make you feel like summer is in full swing. Here are some tips to be sure your outdoor party is a success:


Preparing your Grill:

  • Prep and Clean: Clean your grill before and after use. Heat up your grill on high to clean off any unwanted mess. A clean grill ensures fresher tasting food and fewer carcinogens left on the grates.
  • Easy Clean-up Tip: Cover your entire grill area with aluminum foil for easier clean up and to protect your grill.
  • Don’t Flatten Burgers, Steaks & Chops with the Spatula: We see it in movies, TV shows, and commercials, but flattening these items on the grill only squeezes out the flavorful juice and can cause flare ups!



Marinating meats intensifies the flavors and adds juiciness that everyone craves. But did you know that it is also healthful? Marinating meat prior to grilling can reduce the amount of HCA’s (Heterocyclic amines) that can form on meat exposed to high cooking temperatures. HCA’s have been shown to possibly increase the risk of certain cancers in animal studies. According to the American Institutes of Cancer Research®, studies show that using marinades prior to grilling can reduce the amount of HCAs formed during grilling.


Grilling meats and other proteins:

  • Choose lean cuts of meat. Prior to grilling, remove skin from poultry and trim fat from beef.
  • Grill veggie burgers, turkey and chicken burgers and even tofu for delicious additions to your barbecue!
  • Meats should be completed thawed before cooking for proper flavor and even cooking.


Keep food safe:

  • Marinate meats in the fridge – discard unused marinade.
  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meats and vegetables.
  • Cook steaks to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, 160 degrees for ground meats (hamburgers) and 165 degrees for chicken.
  • Refrigerate foods after two hours or less.
  • Don’t forget to wash your hands before, during and after grilling!


Fruit & Nut Burgers

fruit and nut burgers

Prepare to be delighted. Ground Beef burgers with walnuts, Granny Smith apples, Brie cheese and blackberry preserves.

Total Recipe Time: 25 Minutes

Makes: 4 servings


  • 1 pound Ground Beef (93% lean or leaner)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored, cut into 8 rounds
  • 4 tablespoons Brie cheese, softened
  • 4 teaspoons marionberry or blackberry preserves
  • 4 whole-grain artisanal rolls



  1. Combine Ground Beef, walnuts, salt, pepper, and in a medium bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into four 1/2-inch thick patties.
  2. Place patties on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8 to 10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 7 to 9 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally.
  3. Cook’s Tip: Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed ground beef. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.
  4. Place two apple rounds on bottom of each roll; top with burger. Evenly spread cheese and preserves over burgers. Close sandwiches.

Cook’s Tip: Apple rounds may be grilled for 3 to 4 minutes, if desired.


Nutrition Information: 365 calories; 15g fat (6g Saturated, 2g monounsaturated); 90mg cholesterol; 496mg sodium; 27g carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 30g protein.