Grill Cheat Sheet

Toss your favorite foods on our digital grill to find their PointsPlus® values.
cheat Sheets

As a general cooking method, grilling is a good way of preparing food without adding fat," says David Seres, MD, director of medical nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. "As long as you skip the butter, you don't have to worry about having too much corn."

Let's start with the classic cookout icon: the burger. Eating one is hard to resist, but since you're probably going to add cheese and a bun, you should at least try for leaner cuts to keep your PointsPlus values under control. "If you're looking for a good meaty chew with many fewer calories than the real thing," says Seres, "a portobello mushroom brushed with a little Italian dressing is fantastic."

Pick your patty:

Patty type Size PointsPlus value
Regular ground beef 3 oz 5
Lean ground beef 3 oz 3
Regular ground turkey or chicken 3 oz 5
Lean ground turkey or chicken 3 oz 4
Soy burger 3 oz 3
Portobello mushroom 3 oz 0
Bison burger 3 oz 5

The fowl focus of grilling is to keep it simple. You probably already know that skinless is a better option. With skin, a piece of chicken gains roughly 1 PointsPlus value, depending on its size. Sauce it up with a dollop of honey mustard, if you like; it won't cost you.

Choose your chicken:

Chicken Size PointsPlus value
Breast, boneless and skinless 3 oz 3
Drumstick, boneless and skinless 3 oz 1
Drumstick, with skin and bone 3 oz 2
Thigh, with skin and bone 3 oz 4

Once you've stoked your coals to perfection, odds are you're ready for some red meat. Instead of a heavy slab, opt for the recommended serving size of 3 ounces. "Your grocer or butcher should be able to help you to figure out which cuts are lower in fat and give you a primer on how to shop for leaner meats," says Seres. Go with a healthier cut and make it more savory by the bite. Brushing a steak with sauces and marinades, as long as they're not too creamy or oily, adds loads of taste and little to no PointsPlus values.

Man up with meat:

Steak Size PointsPlus value
Filet mignon 3 oz 7
Trimmed filet mignon 3 oz 4
Porterhouse 3 oz 7
Trimmed porterhouse 3 oz 6
Sirloin 3 oz 5
Trimmed sirloin 3 oz 3
Lean flank steak 3 oz 4
T-bone 3 oz 7
Trimmed T-bone 3 oz 5

If you're interested in giving seafood a spin, check out our marine-life breakdown.

Succulent seafood:

Fish Size PointsPlus value
Shark steak 4 oz 5
Snapper fillet 4 oz 5
Salmon steak 4 oz 7
Swordfish Steak 4 oz 6
Tilapia 4 oz 2
Tuna steak 4 oz 5
Shrimp 4 oz 2
Scallop 4 oz 3

Keep yourself honest
Presumably, the cookout is going to be your big meal for the day. Here's a realistic scenario to help you understand how your PointsPlus values can add up to a reasonable total. Have a lean-ground-beef burger on a whole-wheat bun with a slice of fat-free American, and it's only 6 PointsPlus values. Add a chicken drumstick garnished with a light sauce selection, and there's another 5. If there's a round two, switch things up with a seasoned snapper fillet, and pile on some juicy grilled veggies. That makes for a grill-fest that rings in at a respectable 17 PointsPlus values. Planning on being hungry for more? Make that decision beforehand and set aside the extra room in your daily PointsPlus Target and weekly PointsPlus Allowances.

Sit and savor
Don't let yourself get distracted. Sure, all your friends are around and there are a lot of conversations and activities going on, but the more you focus on your plate, the less likely you'll be to overeat. "It's easy to lose track of how much you're eating at a cookout if you're focusing a lot on the socializing rather than the food," Seres says. "Instead of walking around with a full plate talking to people, find a nice quiet place to sit down so you can really concentrate on the taste of the food."

Don't beat yourself up
We all know that cooking out, especially for a holiday, means you're not likely to plot all your PointsPlus values and calculate everything correctly. You might even go over your daily PointsPlus Target. But don't get down on yourself. Just like a baseball season, weight loss can be a long haul, building momentum as you go along. And hey, you might not hoist the World Series trophy in the end, but being healthier, leaner and more fit is worth more than a pile of metal.

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