Healthy Memorial Day BBQ Recipes

NBCLA's Colleen Williams joined registered nutritionist Christine Avanti in her Brentwood kitchen to whip up a healthy meal on the grill. She starts with homemade chips and salsa, which she says are a great way to cut the fat and sodium without sacrificing any of the flavor.

Christine says ditch the sugary BBQ sauce -- instead grill mediterranean kabobs. And for dessert swap the heavy cheesecake for some grilled fruit. Who knew you could grill fruit?

A traditional meal from the backyard BBQ could load you up with more than 1500 calories and a whopping 93 grams of fat. Christine's easy and yummy alternative meal slides in at just 530 calories and 12 grams of fat.

Here's what Christine suggests:

1. Serve homemade chips and salsa instead of greasy potato chips and dip. Homemade chips and salsa take less than twenty minutes to make and there is almost no chopping involved!

Christine’s skinny chips and fire roasted salsa: 106 calories, 2 grams fat, 45 mg sodium (Recipe)

(Store bought chips and salsa: 338 calories, 17 grams fat, 406 mg sodium)

2. Offer healthy side dishes that cook up easily on the grill, low in calories, low in fat and bursting with flavor!

Christine’s grilled portobello mushroom with thyme, garlic and balsamic marinade side dish: 112 calories 4 grams fat (Recipe)

(Conventional potato salad: 328 calories and 20 grams of fat.)

3. Marinate with Mediterranean flavors instead of typical sugar loaded BBQ sauces.

Mediterranean chicken kabobs with mint, oregano, and red onion: 178 calories, 6 grams fat (Recipe)


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(Standard BBQ hamburger: 605 calories, 38 grams fat)

4. Prepare desserts with fresh fruit and save hundreds of calories.

Christine's grilled fruit kabobs: 134 calories, 0 fat (Recipe)

(Store bought cheese cake: 257 calories, 18 grams fa)

Meal totals:

Christine Avanti's Beach Body BBQ: 530 calories, 12 grams of fat

Traditional Backyard BBQ: 1,528 calories, 93 grams of fat


Grilled Portobello with Citrus Thyme Balsamic Marinade
Haute & Healthy by Christine Avanti

Makes 4 servings
8 portobello mushroom caps, thinly sliced long ways

½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 clove garlic mashed
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat grill to medium-high flame.
2. Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing.
4. Brush dressing on to Portobello mushroom top and underside.
5. The key to grilling Portobello mushrooms is making sure the grates are clean and brushed with oil right before the mushrooms go on.
6. Grill Portobello caps for approximately 7 minutes on each side or until you reach desired doneness.

Nutrition Facts:
112 Calories, 4 grams protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fat

Greek Chicken with Oregano and Mint
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
Makes 4 servings

1 ½ pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 bunch fresh mint
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 12-inch metal or wooden skewers

1. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.
2. Mix chicken, 1 T olive oil, garlic, mint, oregano, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 24 hours.
3. Whisk remaining 1 T olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl.
4. Preheat grill to medium high heat.
5. Pull off large mint leaves from stems. Alternate chicken, onion and mint leaves on skewers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. Grill kabobs until chicken is cooked through, turning and basting with lemon-oil mixture, about 9-10 minutes.

Serves 5

Nutrition Facts:
193 Calories, 32 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat
For more healthy recipes go to

For more healthy recipes and weight loss tips check out Christine Avanti's new book Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads


Nutritionist, Chef and Author of Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads (Rodale 2009)

Christine Avanti Nutrition, Inc.
10323 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 106

Century City, CA 90025

Office: 310-795-9203
Fax: 310-979-9112

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