Mini Monets and Mommies: Summer of Grilling Healthy Backyard Barbeque

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer of Grilling Healthy Backyard Barbeque

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerOfGrilling #CollectiveBias

Summer is finally here, and it’s grilling season! About 10 years ago (when my now-teenage son was 4-years-old) we started a Sunday barbequing tradition. We get together with my parents and have hamburgers, hot dogs and all of the ‘summertime favorites’. Sounds fun, right?

Hamburger Recipe

Well, it is. Or, at least was. I have to be honest here, this year I was exactly looking forward to our summer cook outs. A few months ago my 14-year-old was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. After five very scary days in the hospital he was released with a brand new meal plan (and orders to test his blood sugar and give himself insulin injections six times a day). He’s done amazingly well so far – even though it’s been a major change.

Instead of just eating when and what he wants, he now has to follow the guidelines the nutritionist created. When it comes to our summer barbeques that means no gorging on chips and passing on the burgers (and veggies). There are no more refreshingly chilly popsicles or bowls of ice cream at the end of dinner. But, as I’ve come to realize, that doesn’t mean we can’t have still have a super-tasty cookout. We just had to make some adjustments.

When I was planning for the start of grilling season I had to make some adjustments. This meant coming up with ideas for plenty of healthy options, that were still ‘cool’ enough for a teenager to try (believe me, a plain burger on a bun wasn’t going to cut it). So, on my weekly trip to Giant Eagle (okay, so maybe I’m there more than weekly – I should probably write better lists) I decided to try something a bit different than or usual summertime staples.

In past years I’ve pretty much stuck to a package of ground beef that I turn into mega-sized burgers. This year portion control is a must-do, so massive burgers won’t do. What’s the alternative? Market District Gourmet Seasoned Beef Burgers! Not only do they have added flavor, but they’re already in perfect burger form (with a portion size that works within my son’s meal plan – yay!). I chose these as our new centerpiece for our weekend backyard meals.

Instead of chips, dip and ice cream that I usually added, I went with a much more nutritious version of the summer cook out. Keep in mind, this meal worked with my son’s specific meal plan. That said, it might not work for every diabetic (you should only and always follow the doctor’s or nutritionist’s guidelines and plans). Even if your child doesn’t have diabetes, this is a much healthier version of what (at least for us) used to be a not-so-healthy meal.

Along with the burgers, Giant Eagle had everything else that I needed to complete the meal (they truly are the grilling headquarters – and who doesn’t appreciate a one-stop shop?).
Grilling Foods
What did the meal end up looking like?

Obviously, the burgers came first. Here’s what you’ll need:

·        Market District Gourmet Seasoned Beef Burgers (they are in the meat section, and portioned nicely, with a variety of seasonings -- i.e., you can make everyone happy)

·        Kraft Natural Cheese Slices, from the dairy aisle

·        Heinz BBQ Sauce

·        Pepperidge Farm Buns

·        Nature’s Basket Ketchup

·        Giant Eagle Mustard

Here’s what to do:

1. Grill the burgers! So super-simple, isn’t it? I’m not a fan of handling raw meat (I really don’t know anyone who is). So, the ready-made burgers mean that you can just put them on the grill and cook. No having to measure seasonings, mix and mold the meat into patties.

2. After the burgers are completely cooked add another layer of taste. Teenagers certainly don’t like anything dull (which is a complete contrast from when my son was younger and wanted everything plain, plain and even more plain). I poured the Heinz BBQ Sauce into a small bowl and let him brush some onto his burger (you can also add a light brushing of it before you cook the burger too). This is also an easy alternative for anyone who isn’t into ketchup and mustard.

Hamburger Barbeque

3. Put the burger on the bun and add a slice of Kraft Natural Cheese.

Done! My son’s plan calls for more carbs than just the bun. Instead of greasy chips, we grilled strips of zucchini and yellow squash (hint: you can also brush on some of the BBQ sauce for added flavor). We also added the grilled veggies right into burger (on top of the cheese) for an extra pinch of health!

Market District Burgers

What about drinks and dessert? I’ve really never explored diet drink options, at least not until my son was diagnosed. But, for special occasions (such as a family meal with the grandparents) he always asks for something more than plain water. I picked up a few bottles of Lipton Ready to Drink Diet Peach Tea and went to the bottled water aisle for some Aquafina Sparkling Black Cherry Dragonfruit. The Diet Peach tea has no carbs, so it was the perfect drink addition to the meal. The Aquafina Sparkling water has 3 g per serving/can, but that still fit well within my son’s meal plan.

Summer Drink

I have to admit, I was a bit confounded when it came to dessert. Ice cream and popsicles were no-no’s, so I had to come up with a low-calorie option. That’s when I realized I had already bought dessert, without even knowing it. I could simply freeze the Lipton Ready to Drink Diet Peach iced tea and Aquafina Sparkling into low-cal pops.

Kids' treat

Add a popsicle stick and you’ve got a fruit-flavored treat! I had just bought these cute ring-pop ice molds. They worked perfectly for this recipe. I added slices of strawberries to a few too!.

Summer recipe

The grandparents aren’t exactly into popsicles, so they popped the cubes (minus the sticks) into plain seltzer water for a fresh summer drink. You can also slice up berries and add them to the mix (before freezing, of course).

That’s it! So easy. Show us how you made Giant Eagle you summer grilling headquarters by leaving a comment below. Share your recipe ideas for burgers and more for everyone to see!


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