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The Healthy Grilling Guide



Chef Arturo McLeod of Benjamin Steakhouse in New York City has been preparing steaks for more than 30 years. Here, he shares his expertise for serious steak-lovers or those who just want to have some outdoor fun on the grill.

The truth is, we love Chef Arturo's steak, fish, and chicken. The jury's still out on exactly how healthy these recipes are, but we figure a 3- to 5-ounce serving of any of these recipes once in a while can be a happy event, even if it's not a perfectly healthy one.

TIP: Make it even healthier and throw a heaping serving of vegetables on the grill for a complete meal!

Skip the potato salad and pasta salad. We talked with nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN, who suggested indulging your sweet tooth by grilling bananas, pineapples, and peaches. Grilling fruit brings out its natural sweetness, plus it's a whole lot healthier than dessert. So you can feel guilt-free and satisfied at your next cookout.


  • When buying steak, the cuts to look for are sirloin, T-bone, and strip steak.
  • Ideal cuts should have thin streaks of fat in between the meat. It may seem counterintuitive to look for fat when you want to eat healthy, but some fat is essential in a good steak. "The fat makes it tender and juicy," Chef Arturo said.
  • Marinate the steak the day before so it's tender and flavorful. Cover steak in salt, pepper, and olive oil overnight. Chef Arturo uses a lot of seasoning for a more savory steak, including garlic powder, herbs, and oregano.
  • For medium rare, grill steak for about three and a half minutes on each side, depending on the thickness.


  • Some good picks for the grill are tuna, salmon, and sea bass.
  • Dressing: 6 tablespoons soy sauce, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and 1 quart of water.
  • Place fish on a dish on top of the grill and baste periodically with the dressing while cooking.
  • Fish is done when the meat in the middle is flaky and has an even color.


  • To make sure your chicken is thoroughly cooked, first put pieces of chicken in a pot of boiling water with salt and pepper for 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the water then cover in seasoning (try salt, pepper, adobo) and cook on the grill for about 20 minutes, turning the chicken every 3 minutes.
  • Coat chicken in barbecue sauce when it is almost ready to be removed from the grill. Opt for sauces without high fructose corn syrup and look for brands with tomato puree as one of the first ingredients.
  • The safest way to tell when chicken is done is by a thermometer reading. The goal temperature is 165 degrees F.

Originally published on, June 2008.