Chefs’ Tips for Healthy Grilling

Joey Camparo, Michael Ferraro and others share their secrets and healthy-living philosophies



Tees, shorts, dresses, and flip flops being pulled out of the closet can only mean one thing: grilling season is here. While it’s easy to throw some hot dogs and burgers on the grill and call it dinner, there are plenty of healthy grilling options available that still taste delicious.

Grilling is an ideal way to eat healthy because it allows you to impart delicious and filling flavors without the need for added fat. It's a surefire way to add boldness to food that you may usually turn to the fryer for. The heat of a grill will pull out and enhance those natural flavors of whatever you are cooking, and if you add a low-calorie marinade or rub, then you won’t even miss the fat.

Now, there is a lot of talk about the link between grilling and cancer, but studies show this can be avoided easily by not putting your food in direct contact with intense heat or flame. Avoid adding a char to your meats if you are concerned about the risks. And studies show that use marinades and rubs on foods can greatly reduce the formation of cancer-causing substances. So use basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage when you are grilling. Not only are you adding flavor, but also you are reducing the bad stuff. Win-win! Finally, those cancer-causing agents are actually primarily formed from fat, so just trim the fat off your meats.

Another fabulous facet of grilling is the versatility. It's not just meats that end up on those grates. You can grill vegetables, fruits... and even flatbreads and cakes. (But maybe hold off on too much of the latter.)

To provide you with the best advice possible this barbecue season, we turned to six renowned chefs and asked for their healthy eating philosophies and favorite grill recipes for simple and delicious meals. 



Grilled soft shell crabs with asparagus salad

Healthy Grilling Philosophy: “Everything we put into our bodies affects our health. By choosing what to eat based on what is available seasonally and locally, you can be guaranteed that you are making a healthy choice.”

Chef Joey Campanero,Owner ofLittle Owl and Market Table



Grilled Salmon with Ratatouille and Black Olive Tapenade


Healthy Grilling Philosophy:"There's no better way to cook food simply and healthily than on the grill. You don't need heavy sauces or oils; just season with authority! Adding just salt and pepper to whatever it is you're grilling can make even the simplest dish taste flavorful and delicious."

— Chef Marc Murphy, Judge on Chopped, Owner of Landmarc, and Ditch Plains