- Nutrition -

Fast Fuel: Get Your Grill On

Make the most of what’s left of the grilling season with this guide.

Several meat-and-veggie kebabs lined up on a grill

Everything tastes better on the grill. It might also be the outdoor scenery or the smell of late summer wafting through the air, but I think we can agree that grilling is fantastic for multiple reasons.

From a nutrition standpoint, grilling doesn’t require extra fat or other higher-calorie-content dressings be added to cook or bring out the taste. Grilling also allows the nutrients of vegetables to stay relatively enacted, as compared with some other cooking methods like boiling. This tasty, colorful main dish can be prepared pretty quickly once you cut the vegetables, and it fuels athletes with valuable nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals after a long training day or workday.

A basic grill kit should include:

  • Long tongs — for turning the food
  • Stiff-wire brush — for cleaning the grill
  • Mop brush — for saucing foods
  • Large offset spatula — for moving and flipping
  • Elbow-length gloves — for protection
  • Chimney — for igniting coals without lighter fluid

What: Grilled turkey, chicken, or beef sausage has become a staple in our home when we’re busy since it’s precooked and ready to roll. Late summer vegetables are in abundance from the garden, so it’s the perfect time to use them at their peak ripeness and nutrient content.

Why it’s perfect for triathletes: One sausage link provides about 200 calories and 12 grams of protein. Many varieties are now available without artificial ingredients, MSG, or nitrites. One to two servings of sausage provides great protein with the ease and convenience of being fully cooked. In addition, vegetables are also low in calories and fat but high in fiber, so they can help you lose weight by making you feel full. Triathletes need the potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate (folic acid) in vegetables for great overall health and recovery from training sessions.

When: Lunch or dinner

Grilled Sausages With Vegetables

Serves 12


  • ¾ cup peach preserves (sugar-free if possible)
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. ginger seasoning
  • 3 tbs. water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 medium sweet peppers (red or green)
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 3 small zucchini
  • 3 small yellow summer squash
  • 1 package (4–5 stalks) Broccolini
  • 12 smoked chicken, turkey, or beef sausage 


  • Place the first five ingredients in a blender. Cover and blend.
  • Cut peppers lengthwise in half; remove seeds. Cut eggplant lengthwise into ½-inch-thick slices. Cut zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise into quarters. Place all vegetables in a large bowl; drizzle with ½ cup of the sauce and toss.
  • Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, rub on grill rack to coat lightly. Grill vegetables, covered, over medium heat 8–10 minutes or until tender and lightly charred, turning once. Remove; cool slightly. Reduce grill temperatures to medium-low heat.
  • Cut vegetables, except Broccolini, into bite-sized pieces. Toss with additional ¼ cup sauce; keep warm.
  • Grill sausages, covered, over medium-low heat 15–20 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees for chicken or turkey sausage, or 145 for beef sausage, turning occasionally. Remove sausages from grill; toss with remaining sauce and serve with Broccolini on the side and cut vegetables.

Originally written for IRONMAN by Kim Schwabenbauer, RD, CSSD, LDN. Posted here with permission by IRONMAN.

is a professional triathlete, Registered Sports Dietitian and USA Triathlon Coach. She helped hundreds of athletes from 5k to Ironman achieve their dreams while staying healthy and enjoying the journey. Follow Kim at her website Fuel Your Passion or on twitter at . IRONMAN is more than a family of events, it's a lifestyle. Since the very first race, held on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1978, the series has growth into a movement spanning the globe. For inspirational stories, training articles, and race-day tips, visit IRONMAN.com.

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