Guy’s Guide To Slim Trim Grilling

The summer months mean it’s time for the guys to put on their aprons and dust off the grill. It seems all men are in their element with charcoal and spatula.

Summer is also a time we want to slim down as we replace the sweaters and coats with shorts and bathing suits. So guys how can you get those flat abs back and still enjoy the back yard BBQ? It’s easy!

  1. Choose lean proteins. Not only do high fat meats add unwanted calories they also can have a negative effect on heart health. Instead of choosing high fat meats like ribs, sausage and prime rib choose leaner cuts. Try salmon, shrimp skewers, skinless chicken breast, pork loin or beef tenderloin. Grilling is a low fat cooking method so make the choices lean for maximum calorie slashing benefit.
  2. Hamburgers PLEASE! The burger is a staple on the back yard grill but some ground beef can add a lot of calories and unhealthy fats. Look for key words on your ground meat like loin or round, this usually means you are getting a lean ground meat. Lean and extra lean are also good indicators that you have a lean ground beef.
  3. Don’t skip the cheese. Cheese is a high calorie high fat food, but does have some redeeming qualities. Cheese adds flavor, texture and minerals like calcium. Solution: choose a low-fat version of your favorite cheese. For maximum melting, skip the fat-free cheese – it does not melt well.
  4. Go green, with your side dishes. Try to include more vegetables with your meals. Great grilling vegetables include: asparagus, zucchini or yellow squash, bell peppers, Portobello mushrooms and anything else you enjoy. Keep the veggies light by adding only a light brushing of olive oil. Try marinating them in lime or lemon juice with your favorite herbs and spices to add even more dynamic flavors, all while keeping the calories low.
  5. Don’t eliminate the starch. Starches are great carbohydrates and give our bodies lots of needed energy! Some great grilled starches are sweet potatoes, white potatoes and corn on the cob. Careful with the toppings, butter and sour cream calories add up fast.
  6. Beans! Another great starch, packed with protein and fiber too! If you are having baked beans make them as light as possible. Use a brown sugar blend that is half sugar substitute. This will eliminate some of the extra calories. Also, skip the fat! You don’t have to add smoked bacon or fat back to infuse a smokey flavor. A couple drops of liquid smoke will give you a similar smokey sensation without the fat.
  7. Cocktails! One of the easiest ways to shed a few unwanted pounds is to drop the booze. Beer, wine and liquor are just empty calories and if you can avoid them you will have better results with trimming the waist line. However, if you are over 21 and enjoy a drink you can trim the adult beverage calories. Drink light beer, choose the beer with the lowest calories not the lowest carbohydrate content. Lighten up your mixed drinks by using light mixes, diet soda, seltzer, diet tonic or just water. Stick to one or two only and between drinks always have a cold glass of water or club soda.
  8. Plan for activity. If you are having a BBQ put up a volleyball net or plan for a game of touch football. Adding activity to your daily routine will help you burn more calories and slim down for summer. Move more, sit less.
  9. Slow down. Men have a tendency to eat fast. We know that fast eaters, however are over eaters. So slow down and enjoy the meal. Put your utensils down between each bite and once or twice during your meal, take a one minute break from eating.
  10. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can slow down weight loss efforts. Hydration is important all the time but can be more of a challenge during the summer months as it is hot and we sweat more. Try to drink more cold water every day but if you are outside or exercising consume more water to replace that lost from sweat.

Guys, you don’t have to give up your tongs and you don’t have to follow an impossible diet. These simple tips can help you slim down not only your back yard BBQ but also your day to day choices. Slimming down for summer is easy with just a few food choice modifications. Happy grilling!



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About Karyn Capozzo, RD, LD, CDE

Karyn Capozzo is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian in Bonita Springs, Florida. Karyn graduated from the University of Florida and completed her internship in dietetics with Cornell Medical Center in 1997. Since then she has had a diverse career ranging from clinical dietetics on a burn unit at Grady Memorial Hospital to a private practice promoting healthy lifestyles with proper nutrition and exercise. More information about Karyn and her practice can be found online: