Healthy summer grilling: meat portion sizes and Grilled Marinated Pineapple Pork Chop with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Now that summer has finally arrived in the Mile High State, it’s grilling season. I’ve been taking advantage of it by firing up the grill every chance I get – even during the day when I eat lunch on the back deck. (One of the advantages of working from home!)

However, it got me thinking about all the meat I’m eating and portion sizes. So I checked out the American Meat Institute's YouTube site for a little help:

The video provides visuals of a hamburger, a pork chop, sliced turkey deli meat and a ham sandwich to help you understand the proper portion sizes recommended in the dietary guidelines. It also discusses protein requirements for children of different ages as well as adults. The video is a little dry, but it provides good info. You may want to also check out their videos on Salt in Meat Products, Preparing Hot Dogs for Toddlers, and What it Means to Be Lean Meat.

Healthy summer grilling

The registered dietitians and nutritionists at Structure House Weight Management, the residential weight loss program voted one of America’s Healthiest Diet by Health magazine, suggest these cooking strategies to keep summer grilling healthy:

  • Choose fresh, local ingredients. Not only is produce like fresh tomatoes, peppers, cherries and berries in season, but they’re on sale, too!
  • Make kabobs! Combine lean meats like shrimp and chicken with with seasonal fruits and veggies like tomatoes, pineapple, peppers, squash and onions.
  • Make healthier burgers using lean ground beef, bison meat (buffalo), venison (my family’s favorite), ostrich meat or even fish. Provide healthy condiments and vegetable toppings like sautéed mushrooms. Serve on thin, whole wheat buns. Make sure to check the ingredient labels on ketchup and buns for HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). Oroweat buns (like their Sandwich Thins) and Hunts Ketchup have no HFCS. Organic store brand ketchups are another no-HFCS choice.
  • Use chicken or turkey hotdogs, which are lower in saturated fat.

The Structure House nutritionists also recommend using leaner cuts of meats and marinating them to add flavor without the extra fat.That’s why I like using pork chops, since they’re fairly lean and the portion size is already determined for you.

Here’s a grilling recipe that fits the bill.

Grilled Marinated Pineapple Pork Chop

From the nutritionists at Structure House Weight Management


  • 5 5-ounce center cut pork chops, trimmed
  • 1½ tablespoon ginger, freshly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 8-ounce can pineapple, reserve juice
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard


  1. Combine sesame oil, garlic, mustard, ginger, soy sauce, and reserved pineapple juice in bowl and mix well.
  2. Marinate pork in a zip-loc bag with pineapple sauce overnight.
  3. Prepare grill with cooking spray and heat.
  4. Grill pork for 2 minutes on each side, or until pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
  5. During final grilling minutes, add 5 pineapple rings to the grill and cook 1-2 minutes until hot.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories 276

Protein 36g

Fat 10g

Fiber <1g

Sodium 204mgs

Carbs 12g

Exchanges: 5 HFM, 1 fruit

Weight Watchers POINTS = 6

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 4 ½-cup servings


  • 1 pound sweet potatoes
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon honey


  1. Peel and roughly dice the potatoes. Place potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until soft.
  3. Drain water and mash with the remaining ingredients.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories 117

Protein 2g

Carbs 27g

Fiber 2g

Fat <1g

Sodium 14mgs

Exchanges: 2 starch

Weight Watchers POINTS = 2

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