Your summer guide to safe grilling

Last Modified: 6/13/2022

Safe grilling

It’s grilling season, and Rachel Stohlman, RDN, LD, community outreach dietitian, Parkview Health, has rounded up some sound safety tips, a few nutritious swaps, and two flavorful recipes to spice up your grilling game this summer.

Grilling safety tips
  • Always start with a clean grill: Make sure your grilling grates or surface is clean before getting started because charred debris can lead to contamination and/or bacteria.
  • Separate raw and cooked foods: Always keep cooked foods away from raw/uncooked foods. Cross-contamination is the leading cause of food poisoning during grilling season.
  • Marinating musts: Be sure to marinate your meat in the refrigerator, never on the counter. Also, don’t reuse marinades that were used on raw meats, poultry or seafood. If you want to use the same marinade for other items, make extra and portion it out ahead of time.
  • Separate or wash contaminated utensils/plates: If a kitchen utensil or plate has come in contact with raw meat, seafood or poultry, do not use it for anything else unless you’ve washed it with hot soapy water. Another way to avoid cross-contamination is to have separate utensils for raw and cooked foods.
  • Be vigilant with dishtowels: Using the same dish towel to wipe your hands and clean up spills can spread bacteria. Instead, get a new dish towel if you use it to clean up after raw meat, then wash your hands properly.
Nutritious grilling swaps
  • Veggies: One of the healthiest ways to barbecue is by filling your grill with vegetables. Peppers, corn on the cob, squash, potatoes, tomatoes and mushrooms are excellent choices. When ready, place your veggies directly on the racks or use tin foil and get cooking!
  • Desserts: Fruit kabobs are a great way to add sweetness to your menu. Grilling can bring out the unique flavor and sweetness of fruits like watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, peaches, mangos and pears.
  • Meats: Feel free to enjoy the traditional cookout fare but be careful to minimize consumption of fatty meats like bratwurst, hamburgers and sausage. Instead, try switching out these high-fat items for leaner cuts of meat, poultry and seafood. Also, be sure to trim any visible excess fat from your cuts of meat.
  • Plant proteins: Try something new this year by grilling plant-based options like tofu, tempeh or bean-based burgers in place of your regular animal-based products.


Healthy grilling recipes

Grilled Vegetable Marinade


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped


  1. Whisk all ingredients together.
  2. Lightly coat desired vegetables in oil and grill until desired tenderness.
  3. Drizzle dressing on grilled veggies and enjoy.

Serves 8


Grilled Fruit Kebobs


12 skewers
4 cups assorted fruit, cubed
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Place fruit on skewers, alternating each type of fruit.
  3. In a small bowl, mix honey, vanilla and ground cinnamon.
  4. Lightly brush kebobs with oil and place them on the grill. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, basting kebobs with the honey-cinnamon mixture until you see grill marks.
  5. Remove from grill, brush with remaining honey-cinnamon mixture. Serve warm, and enjoy!

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