The Diet Detective: You’ve Been Grilled

Not all grills are created equal. Say WHAT? Yup, just because you order something grilled at a restaurant doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Check out this great tip about grilling and ordering grilled food.

You’ve Been Grilled
That’s right, even the grill isn’t sacred. I don’t know how many times I’ve recommended that people order their food grilled. But according to food-safety expert Jeff Nelken, “Often times breakfast cooks save the bacon fat and use it on the grill to make lunch and dinner foods.” Also, the grill itself may not be what you think it is.

When we order foods grilled, most of us assume they’ll be cooked on an open flame, but many times it’s a flat-top grill, where some type of grease or oil is necessary to create an even cooking surface, increase the cooking speed and prevent the food from sticking.

Many restaurants will call a food “flame grilled” on the menu, but even so, the food or the grill may have been brushed with oil to prevent sticking. Even “grilled” fish/seafood is always brushed with some type of oil, says John Greely, chef at the famed 21 Club in New York City.

Healthy tip: Ask if they’re using a flat-top grill or a flame grill. If it’s flat-top, request your food grilled in a pan with cooking spray instead of oil. Nelken suggests telling the server you “just returned from the hospital and need the food prepared according to doctor’s instruction.”

Another option is frequenting restaurants where you can see the food being cooked in an open kitchen, says, Kimberly Johnson, R.D., a chef and instructor in the Nutrition and Hospitality Management Department at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY.

– Tip by Charles Stuart Platkin on

Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.