May 11, 2020

Healthy Grilling Tips

Written by: Tara Garrison, NASM, ICANS, CFSC and Superfeet Wellness Panel Member.  Tara is a health optimization coach who is passionate about human potential. Tara specializes in the ketogenic diet and teaches people to "Do Keto. Not Forever" for metobolic flexibility and optimal human nutrition. Follow Tara on Instagram for more tips about how to live your best life.


I’m a native southerner, and I love my barbecue as much as the next girl.

I was also married to a Polynesian for most of my adult life, and I’ve made grilled teriyaki chicken more times than I can count.

But did you know that meats marinated in, and then slathered with, barbecue or teriyaki sauce can have more sugar in them than Grandma’s famous strawberry shortcake?

Healthy Grilling Tips 2

Here’s an example:

A pound of bbq pork ribs at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has 34g of sugar. That’s before you slather it in one of their delicious - and sugar-filled - sauces, coming in at 11g of sugar for every tiny tablespoon you add.

Before you know it, you’ve downed 60g of sugar or more.

To put that in perspective, the average strawberry shortcake recipe has 20-40g of sugar per serving

So how do we enjoy our bbq and our good health, too?

Here are my healthy tips for grilling:

Make your own marinade

I swap out sugar with Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener. It’s mostly erythritol, a granulated substitute that doesn’t raise your blood sugar. Some people will get gastric upset from erithrytol, so if that’s you, use stevia, monk fruit or allulose. I find all of these on Amazon or the Lakanto at Costco.

Snag a pre-made BBQ sauce that doesn’t have any sugar

I am obsessed with Guy Gone Keto BBQ Sauce on Amazon, sweetened with allulose, which is a natural sweetener that won’t spike your blood sugar. I could literally drink that stuff. I also enjoy the BBQ sauces from Primal Kitchen, which have no added sugars. I find them online at Thrive Market, or at Whole Foods & Sprouts locally by me.

Use dry rubs that don’t have sugar added to them

When you cook meat well, you don’t need a ton of added flavors. I choose a country in my head and go for it. Here’s how I think:

Mexico = cumin, paprika, chili powder, chipotle powder, cayenne

Italy = Italian seasoning, oregano, thyme, basil

India = curry powder, turmeric, ginger, chili powder, cumin

And always, salt. Which leads me to my next tip.

Use kosher salt

A great steak to me only needs one thing- kosher salt. I prefer Redmond Real Salt kosher salt because it has natural trace minerals still intact, it hasn’t been stripped of them like the cheap salts you get in the grocery store. (You can use the coupon code COACHTARA to get 20% off with Redmond.)

Use a grill that smokes your meat while it’s grilling

I have no affiliations with Traeger, I just absolutely LOVE their grills. Life changing in terms of flavor without having to add any calories or sugar. They are electric but use wood chips to smoke and flavor your meat while it’s grilling.

Last, I’m including for you my recipe for Keto Teriyaki Chicken, from my Keleo (Keto + Paleo) Keto In & Out System. Enjoy — it is one of my favorite recipes of all time!


Keto Teriyaki Chicken with Avocado
486 calories, 19.7g fat, 12.3g carbs, 5.7g fiber, 6.6g net carbs, 63.7g protein

Healthy Grilling Tips

Serves 1

• 8 oz boneless skinless chicken thighs

• 1 tbsp coconut aminos

• 2 tbsp water

• 2 tbsp erithrytol

• 2 green onion stalks, diced, divided

• 2 inch section fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced

• 3 oz avocado (about 1/2 medium)

• Salt to taste

Prepare chicken the day before by mixing coconut aminos, water, erithrytol, 1 green onion stalk and ginger root in a medium Tupperware. Add chicken and marinate in refrigerator overnight. Flip chicken over in the morning if you can.

When ready to eat, grill chicken over medium heat until cooked through.

Serve with avocado on the side. Top all with salt to taste.