Loving the BITE: My Mid-Summer Grilling Tradition


I’m starting a mid-summer, 4th of July Loving the Bite tradition. Grilling. Burgers. Delicious & Healthy Toppings.  Seems like it ought to take off.

We started last year with 5 amazing toppings for grilled meat and burgers.  This year, I’ll dig into the Loving the Bite archives for 3 more.  If you’re hosting a party this weekend, or a BBQ  any time, it can be a fun option to put out 3-5 different homemade, unique toppings for guests (be sure to label them).  All of ours are easy, packed with amazing SuperFood ingredients, and can be used on burgers, grilled chicken, black bean burgers, grilled portabella mushrooms and more.

Getting out for a long ride this weekend? Guess what makes a great recovery after a great ride? That’s right, something off the grill.  Add some carbohydrates and you’ll be set.  Long live this summer riding and grilling tradition!

Recipes of the Week: 8 Festive Burger/Grilling TOPPINGS

  1. SalsaI didn’t have to go back far to find this salsa recipe (it’s from last week).  For a bit more fun, add chopped peaches or mangos at the end to make it a fruit salsa with kick.  Great onto of grilled chicken or black bean burgers.
  2. Olive Tapenade – I think most people can agree that olives taste great on top of burgers.  This tapenade recipes makes it easy to keep them on top without rolling off!
  3. BBQ Sauce – Of course, this is a traditional topping.  However, we’ve taken to the next level by making it at home and avoiding all the “junk” ingredients found in most commercial variety.  Only takes 5 minutes and you’ll want to make extra.
  4. Guacamole – I doubt I have to say much more, but nothing beats a guacamole burger in my book.  Except maybe a Green Chili Burger.
  5. Green Chili Sauce – Either make this green chili sauce, or grill whole green chili peppers.  To do so, place washed green chilies directly over hot flame.  Turn occasionally so that all sides become blistered and blackened.  Next, remove from grill and place in a paper bag for 10-15 minute (securely close paper bag).  Once cooled in the bag remove, cut off stems, remove seeds, and peel off blackened skin.  Serve over burgers.
  6. Basil or Spinach Pesto – So green.  So healthy.  And combined with a burger and some fresh mozzarella, so yummy.
  7. Roasted Red Pepper Coulis –  It may seem a little fancy, but this easy delicious sauce is full of flavor and will take any burger to the next level.
  8. Cilantro Lime Aioli from our Quinoa-Black Bean Burger Recipe – Even if eating meat, you can steal this wonderful sauce and top your burger.  It’s fresh and a different taste than what you’re used to coming off the grill.


Although I only eat red meat about once per week (partly because really good quality grass-fed beef is cost-prohibitive), I will look forward to a burger this weekend.  My good friend Darryl, not so much.  After years and years of being a dietitian and sports nutritionist, I’ll tell you that there’s more than one way, and more than one philosophy, to a healthy diet.  In both everyday nutrition and sports nutrition.  I’ve seen very healthy, and very unhealthy meat-eating diets.  I’ve also seen very healthy, and very unhealthy vegetarian and vegan diets.

The key commonalities between the healthy ones?  Minimally processed foods.  Whole, real, slow foods.  Minimal refined grains.  Whole real carbohydrates from fruits, yams, beans, quinoa, intact grains (rice and oats) and the like.  Adequate protein throughout the day and proactively added healthy fats. Lots and lots of vegetables. Many more meals made at home than in a restaurant.

With this in mind, here are some options for your Grilled protein:

1) If eating beef, if at all possible choose grass-fed, local, or at least organic beef.  Not only does this make a difference with sustainability, processing, and sanitation, the actual fatty acids of the beef are different in grazed vs. confined cattle.  Confined cattle generally eat grains and corn.  Like in our bodies, these often increase fat storage and affect the types of fat we store.  On the other hand, grazed cattle eat grass (a vegetable essentially) and their meat is significantly higher in omega-3 compared to confined, which are higher in omega-6s.  Remember, omega-3s and omega-6s compete with each other to promote anti-inflammatory hormone or inflammatory hormone production in our bodies. So, at every turn, the more omega-3s and less omega-6s, the better.

2) If you’d like meat, but don’t want beef, any of these topping will go great on organic, cage-free, skinless, grilled chicken thighs  or burgers make from organic ground turkey or chicken.

3) Of course, is you have ground venison, elk or bison available, you’ve got a winner…load on the toppings!

4) No meat? No problem, these black bean and quinoa burgers are packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants and a great flavor.  Or try a grilled portabella mushroom. However, you’ll need to cook on the stovetop rather than the grill.

5) If you’d like to keep it light at night while trying to lose fat, just go without the bun.  As far as taste, you’ll likely never miss it.  If you’d still like to hold your burger, wrap it in a large lettuce leaf.  If not, just eat it with a fork.  Or, if it’s just not the same for you, have a whole-grain bun with this meal and skip the grain at dinner 5 others dinners this week.

6) Of course, don’t forget a whole lotta veggies on the side. It should be vegetables with a side of protein.


This week and weekend, enjoy any 4th of July or summer festivities with great food, great company, and if possible, a nice ride.  Stay hydrated, well-fueled, and then recovery with your burger of choice and flavorful toppings.  Happy 4th!

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.

Enjoy Your Ride
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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

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Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

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