Healthy Living Blog

Grilling Season is Here!

Tina Miller, MS RDN Meijer Healthy Living Advisor,

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the kick-off of grilling season.  Cook-outs don’t need to be boring burgers and the same old hot dogs.  Here’s a few suggestions for a healthier, tastier cook-out:

Keep it Safe: 10 Safe summer grilling tips

  • When shopping, buy cold food last and keep perishable items inside the air-conditioned car (not the trunk).
  • Separate your meat – store raw meat, poultry and seafood tightly wrapped on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
  • Slow-down bacterial growth – keep refrigerator below 40° F; the freezer, 0° F.
  • Chill foods after 2 hours (if temperature is greater than 90° F, 1 hour) – tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or in storage bags/containers. (Refrigerate or place in a cooler with ice / ice packs).
  • Wash hands often – with hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds (or use instant hand sanitizer).
  • Sanitize cutting boards and counters – with solution of 2/3 cup bleach to a gallon of water. Sanitizing wipes, such as Lysol wipes, help to easily clean and sanitize surfaces.
  • Only defrost in the refrigerator – never at room temperature on the countertop.
  • Cook to proper internal temperature:
  • Ground meat: 160º F
  • Beef, veal and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops: minimum of 145° F
  • Pork: 160° F
  • Poultry: 165° F
  • Make clean up easy – marinate meat and poultry in storage bags/containers to contain juices, and wipe up spills with disinfecting kitchen wipes.
  • Handle leftovers right away – dividing into shallow storage containers for rapid cooling, and use within 4 days.

The Main Course

For a healthier cookout, serve meat on whole grain buns and opt for lean ground beef, turkey patties and hot dogs, and chicken sausage. Liven up your main course with homemade condiments that will wow your party guests by adding some kick to the stapes—ketchup, mustard and mayo—with these simple recipes and toppings:

Asian Spiced Ketchup:

  • 1 cup Meijer ketchup
  • 1-2 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon McCormick® garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon McCormick® ground ginger

Worcestershire Pub Mustard:

  • ½ cup Meijer Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Grill Mates® Worcestershire pub burger seasoning

Southwest Mayo:

  • ½ cup Hellmann’s® Carefully Crafted dressing and sandwich spread
  • 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® ground cumin


  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Broccoli slaw
  • Arugula
  • Sliced grilled onions
  • Grilled mushrooms
  • Grilled bell peppers or grilled poblano peppers
  • Earthbound Farm® Organic Baby Spinach leaves
  • Sliced avocado
  • Meijer Deli Storemade Guacamole
  • Meijer Deli Southwest Salsa

The Side Dish

Rather than preparing a table full of side dishes, toss an assortment of veggies together to create a vegetable spectacle. This also makes it more convenient if you’re transporting food to a park or other location, and it can also serve as your side salad.

Grilled Summer Vegetable Spectacle

Servings: 6

  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced ½-inch thick on the diagonal
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced ½-inch thick on the diagonal
  • 1 medium unpeeled eggplant, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 2 medium red or yellow bell peppers, sliced into ½-inch thick rings
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ cup True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Italian Seasoning
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, bell pepper and tomatoes. Drizzle with half of the oil and vinegar; toss to combine. Add Italian seasoning, parsley, salt and pepper to taste; toss to combine. Let vegetables stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat grill to medium-high (350°F to 400°F). Place vegetables directly on grill rack. Grill 3-4 minutes per side or until tender and lightly charred. Arrange vegetables on a platter. Drizzle with remaining oil and vinegar, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 160 calories, 12g fat, 2g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 15mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 2g protein

Star Spangled Salad

  • 1 watermelon
  • 2 pints of blueberries
  • 1 star shaped cookie cutter

Slice the watermelon into rounds about the same height as the star shaped cookie cutter. Press the cookie cutter down to pop out the watermelon. In a bowl, combine watermelon stars and blueberries.

There’s no reason to sacrifice great taste at your family cook-outs; with a fresh twist, you can have the best of both worlds!

Tasty Turkey Burgers



1 pound 93% lean ground turkey

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground peppercorn

½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 tomato, sliced

4 True Goodness® by Meijer™ Whole Grain Hamburger Buns

1 (4 ounce) package arugula

1 avocado, sliced


  1. Heat grill to 400 degrees.
  2. Gently combine ground turkey, salt and pepper. Shape into four patties.
  3. Cook turkey burgers as specified on the package. Always cook to well done, 165 degrees as measured by a meat thermometer.
  4. Serve burgers on whole grain buns topped with cheese, arugula, tomato and avocado.

Nutrition Information (per serving with toppings):  Calories: 413, Fat: 16g, Carbs: 35g, Protein: 31g, Dietary Fiber: 6g, Sodium: 662mg, Cholesterol: 87mg


Spicy Grilled Pork Chops

Makes 4 servings


1 Tbsp. Meijer brown sugar

1 tsp. McCormick™ chili powder

1 tsp. True Goodness® by Meijer thyme leaves

1/8 tsp. True Goodness® by Meijer ground cayenne

4 (6 oz.) True Goodness by Meijer™ pork chops, 1-inch thick


In a small bowl combine brown sugar, chili powder, thyme, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Rub evenly on both sides of chops. Let stand 10 minutes.

Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium-high (350ºF to 400ºF). Grill chops, covered, 4 to 6 minutes per side or until an instant-read thermometer registers 145ºF. Transfer chops to a platter; let stand 3 minutes before serving.