We are well into the grilling season – a great time to add variety to your grilling adventures beyond traditional hamburger or hot dog options. While we all love those summer favorites, it can be nice to add some variety, as well as some healthier choices, to our gatherings. If you are ready to expand your grilling repertoire, keep reading for some tips to get you going.

Fish is a fantastic option for the grill – flavorful, fast and loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fats. But even people who love fish sometimes shy away from grilling it, for fear of over-cooking it, or having it fall apart. The trick is to use the right grilling method for the right fish. Tuna steaks, salmon, halibut and swordfish are densely-textured and can be grilled directly on the grill grate, without having to worry about them falling through. More delicate fish, such as tilapia and sole, can be grilled inside of a foil packet or grill basket. Another key: marinate fish after – rather than before – grilling. Post-grill marinating ensures that the fish does not fall apart, and still comes away with excellent flavor. Grilling fish is a great way to provide your family with a delicious meal, as well as all of the heart- and brain-health benefits that fish provide.

Grilled turkey burgers are another tasty and healthy option. Ground turkey is a great choice to meet your family’s taste and nutrition needs and to position yourself as the ultimate burger grill master. Compared to a traditional ground beef burger of the same size (4 ounces), a burger made with lean ground turkey has less than half the calories and about one-fifth as much saturated fat.

Think turkey burgers are too dry? Think again! Following a few simple steps will ensure that your burgers are juicy and delicious. Start by forming your patties from lean ground turkey, with a couple of tablespoons of finely diced onions or scallions mixed in. Patties should be an even thickness right up to the edges – about 1/2 inch. Make sure not to work the patties too much. Over-mixing can result in dry, tough burgers. After your patties are formed, keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready for grilling. Finally, flip the burgers only once during the cooking process and resist the temptation to press down on burgers with a spatula! This will help the burgers retain all of their tasty juices inside, right where you want them. After cooking to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees, let the burgers rest for a couple of minutes. This will allow the burgers’ juices to settle and redistribute, resulting in juicy, flavorful turkey burgers.

Ready to give it a try? Prepare this crowd-pleasing recipe for Mini Turkey Sliders to offer your guests health and variety at your next gathering.


Mini turkey sliders

All you need:

1 pound lean ground turkey

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

1/2 small onion, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon olive oil

8 bakery wheat buns

Lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard (optional

All you do:

Combine turkey, cheese, breadcrumbs and grated onion; mixing until just combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Form into eight patties.

Heat grill to medium heat.

Add turkey sliders and cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, about 5 minutes per side.

Serve each slider on bun and top with lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mustard, if desired.

-- Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.