Lighten Up Your BBQ!


Americans eat 60 million pounds of beef on each of the summer holidays; that’s a lot of beef! Cut the saturated fat and calories at your BBQ by simply using leaner cuts of meat, like loin or rounds cuts. Make lean burgers juicy and delightfully different by adding a variety of herbs, spices and flavor enhancing vegetables.

Another way to lighten up your backyard BBQ is to serve healthier sides, like our grilled corn salad instead of full-fat potato salad—you’ll save 200 calories! Offer chilled unsweetened iced tea and flavored waters instead of soda and sugary lemonade. Need more ideas? Check out our burger variations below for your healthy BBQ.

Typical BBQ Menu (1,144 Calories, 47g Fat):
Burger (traditional from Ground Chuck): 410 calories and 19 grams fat
Potato Salad: 358calories and 20 grams fat
Brownie (2 inch portion): 170 calories and 8 grams fat
Lemonade: 206 calories

Leaner Menu (590 Calories, 15g Fat):
Lean Beef Burger (Ground Sirloin or Laura’s Lean Beef): 270 calories and 8 grams fat
Grilled Corn Salad: 130 calories and 7 grams fat
Grilled Angel Fruit Cake with Fruit Salsa: 190 and 0 gm fat
Sugar Free Lemonade: 0 calories

Savings: 550 calories and 32 grams of fat

Start with this basic burger mixture and try some variations listed below:

Basic Lean Beef Burgers
Makes 4 burgers

1 lb extra-lean ground beef (also called 95/5 or 5%)
1/4 c Meijer Italian or plain bread crumbs
1 Meijer egg white
1/4 t salt
1/8 t black pepper

4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split
Toppings: lettuce leaves, tomato slices

1. Combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg white, salt, and pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into four ½ -inch thick patties.
2. Place patties on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 11 to 13 minutes to medium (160°F) doneness (until no longer pink in center and juices show no pink color), turning occasionally.
3. Line bottom of each bun with lettuce and tomato, if desired; top with burger. Close sandwiches.

Nutrition Information Per serving (burger with bun): 270 calories; 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 3 g monounsaturated fat), 24 g carbohydrate; 3.6 g fiber

Adapted from The Healthy Beef Cookbook, Wiley, 2006

Burger Variations:

Salsa Burgers: Add 2 T Meijer salsa into burger mixture. Top burgers with salsa and guacamole.

Rueben Burgers: Serve burgers on Meijer rye bread and top burgers with sauerkraut, sautéed onion, reduced fat 2% milk Swiss cheese and Meijer Fat Free Thousand Island dressing.

Onion Burgers: Add ½ envelope Meijer dry onion-soup mix and 1 T chopped garlic to burger mixture in place of salt and pepper. Serve on toasted Meijer Bakery French Bread and top with sautéed onions and reduced fat 2% milk Monterey Jack cheese slices.

Pineapple Burgers: Add ½ c Meijer barbecue sauce to burger mixture and baste with Meijer teriyaki sauce while grilling. Top burgers with Meijer sliced pineapple.

Asian Burgers: Add in 2 T Meijer soy sauce and 1 t minced fresh gingerroot. Serve with shredded Napa cabbage, bell pepper strips, and bean sprouts.

Mushroom Burgers: Add 1 c chopped mushrooms, ½ c reduced fat 2% milk mozzarella cheese, ¼ c fresh chopped basil, and 1 t fresh thyme. Serve on Meijer Bakery Focaccia bread and sprinkle with reduced fat 2% milk cheddar cheese.

Creole Burgers: Add 2 t Cajun seasoning to the burger mixture. In a small bowl, blend
⅓ c chopped onion, ⅓ c chopped green pepper, and ⅓ c reduced fat 2% milk shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Spoon 1/4 cup of cheese mixture into the centers of patties.

Southwest Burgers
1 lb. extra lean ground beef

1 egg white 1 jalapeno, chopped

2 T. fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 c. sweet onion, chopped

1/2 t. salt,  1/4 t. black pepper

4 Whole Grain hamburger buns

Place ground beef in a large bowl. Add egg white, jalapeno, cilantro, onion, salt and black pepper. Mix well. Form into four 3/4 inch patties. Grill burgers on lightly oiled grill rack for 5-6 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Serve burgers in whole grain wheat hamburger buns.

Makes 4 Servings
Nutrition Information per serving (burger with bun): 305 calories, 7 g fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 690 mg, sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 31 g protein

Turkey Burgers
Prep Time: 10 minutes, Total Time: 22 minutes
Serves: 4


3 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
4 slices reduced fat cheese (optional)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns (optional)


1. Crumble ground turkey into medium bowl. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients except cheese and buns; mix well. Shape into 4 patties, each 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Cover and refrigerate. (For best flavor, chill 2 to 4 hours to allow flavors to blend.)
2. Preheat grill to medium-high.
3. Place patties on grill. Grill, covered, 6 to 8 minutes per side or until done (165°F). Top each patty with 1 slice cheese, if desired; place buns, cut side down, on grill during last minute of cooking; serve patties in grilled buns, if desired.

Approximate Nutrition Information (with bun): 291 Calories, 9g Fat, 3g Saturated Fat, 81mg Cholesterol, Carbohydrate 22g, 623 mg Sodium.

Black Bean Burgers
• 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
• 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 1 tablespoon cumin
• 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce
• 1/2 cup bread crumbs

1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.
Nutritional Information per Serving (per burger patty): Calories: 308, Total Fat: 4.5g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Carbohydrate: 54g, Protein: 12g

Grilled Angel Food Cake with Fresh Summer Fruit Salad
Serves 8
1 Meijer Bakery angel food cake
1 c chopped cantaloupe or honeydew melon
1 c chopped strawberries
½ c blueberries
1 c raspberries
¼ c Meijer sugar (or Splenda)
2 T lime juice
1 T chopped fresh mint
1. In a medium bowl, combine fruit, sugar, lime juice, and mint. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving.
2. Preheat grill to medium heat. Slice cake in half horizontally and place, cut side down, on grill 6" from heat.
3. Grill for 30-60 seconds or until light golden brown. Carefully turn cake and grill on second side for 30-60 seconds until light golden brown. Cut cake into 8 pieces and top with fruit salsa.

Nutrition Information: 190 Calories, 0g Fat

Grilled Corn Salad
Serves 12
4 fresh ears of corn
½ c Meijer reduced fat Italian salad dressing
2 c fresh spinach, shredded
1 c orange bell pepper, chopped
2 c grape tomatoes, halved
2 t fresh basil, chopped
2 T Meijer grated reduced fat Parmesan cheese
1. Remove husks and silks from corn. Brush with some of the salad dressing. Grill on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; turning often. (Or place in a shallow baking pan; bake in a 425 degree F oven for 30 minutes, turning once.) When corn is cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cobs (you should have about 2 cups kernels).
2. In a large bowl, combine corn kernels, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, and basil. Add remaining salad dressing; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Information: 130 Calories, 7g Fat

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