"people grilling food"Welcome to our latest blog post on how to enjoy a healthy and delicious barbecue this summer!  Whether you are prepping for, have recently undergone bariatric surgery or are simply looking to maintain a nutritious diet, these grilling tips and recipes will help you savor the flavors of summer without compromising your health goals.

Grilling Tips for Nutritious Meals

  1. Choose Lean Proteins:  Opt for lean cuts of meat like chicken breast, turkey, or fish.  These proteins are lower in fat and calories, making them a healthier choice for the grill.  Marinate your proteins in a mix of herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil for added flavor with minimal extra calories.
  2. Incorporate Vegetables:  Grilled vegetables are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients.  Try skewering bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes.  Brush them lightly with olive oil and season with herbs for a tasty side dish.
  3. Mind the portions:  Pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating.  Using smaller plates and being mindful of serving sizes can help control portions. A general guideline is to fill half of your plate with vegetables, a quarter with lean protein, and a quarter with whole grains or complex carbs.  Note:  If you are still in your “honeymoon period” which is within the first year after surgery, recommend consuming the protein and non-starchy vegetables only without the extra carbs.  Always eat all of your protein first, followed by the non-starchy vegetables second and if you are eating starch, save it for last.
  4. Healthy Marinades and Rubs:  Create marinades and rubs using fresh herbs, spices, citrus juices, and a small amount of healthy oil like olive oil.  Avoid store-bought marinades that can be high in sugar and sodium.
  5. Grill Fruits for Dessert:  Grilled fruits like peaches, pineapples, and apples can make for a sweet and healthy dessert.  They caramelize on the grill, enhancing their natural sweetness without the need for added sugars.

Healthy Summer Recipes

Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add chicken breasts to the marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Grill chicken for 6-7 minutes per side or until cooked through.
  4. Serve with a side of grilled vegetables. 

Veggie Skewers


  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. Thread vegetables onto skewers.
  3. Brush with olive oil and season with oregano, salt, and pepper.
  4. Grill for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until vegetables are tender.

Grilled Pineapple with Honey and Cinnamon


  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. Brush pineapple slices with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  3. Grill pineapple for 2-3 minutes per side until grill marks appear and pineapple is tender.  Serve warm as a healthy dessert.


Barbecuing can be a healthy and enjoyable way to prepare meals, especially during the summer.  By choosing lean proteins, incorporating plenty of vegetables, and being mindful of portion sizes, you can create delicious and nutritious meals that support your health goals.  Give these tips and recipes a try at your next barbecue, and enjoy the flavors of a healthy summer!

For more healthy eating tips and recipes, be sure to check out these recipe books:

  • “Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery,” by Patt Levine and Michele Bontempo-Saray.
  • “The Easy 5-Ingredient Bariatric Cookbook,” by Megan Wolf.
  • “The Gastric Sleeve Bariatric Cookbook 2024” by Betty J. Bakke
  • “Best Fork Forward” by Steph Wagner

Happy grilling!

Disclaimer:  Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet especially post-bariatric surgery.

Janet Klein, MS, RDN, CDN, CDE
By Janet Klein, MS, RDN, CDN, CDE
Janet Klein, MS, RDN, CDN, CDE is Garnet Health Medical Center's Bariatric Surgery Program Director. 

She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics from the State University at Oneonta and her Master of Science in Education from Queens College University. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator, a Registered Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist, holds an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics certificate of Training in Obesity Interventions for Adults and is a member of the Integrated Health group of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

She brings more than 35 years of clinical, educational and leadership experience to Garnet Health Medical Center, where she spearheaded the Bariatric Surgery Program in 2008, received Accreditation for the program through the ASMBS in 2011, re-accredited the program through the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) in 2014, 2017, currently and continues to lead the program with passion.

Janet can be reached at 845-333-2123 or

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