Grilling Healthy Turkey Barbecue Burgers

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - April 14, 2010
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Adriana Ramelli, executive director of the Sex Abuse Treatment Center of Hawaii, reminded me that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence, focusing on sexual assault and rape, and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.

It’s a tough topic, and one that’s often hard to discuss, especially for the victim. But one young woman is finding her own power in doing just that.

This column is dedicated to Allicyn Floyd, who was molested from age 6 until she reported her abuse at age 16. She initially told a family member about the abuse, but that person did not help her. Luckily, she later told a school friend, who urged her to talk to her school counselor. A few weeks later she did, and by that afternoon,the police were called and she was placed in foster care that night. After several months of therapy, she decided she wanted to help others find the courage to tell. She is now educating school counselors and teachers about the SATC curriculum and says, “Each time I am able to talk about my experiences, I take back a little more of the power my perpetrators had over me.”


The Sex Abuse Treatment Center has been hard at work all month, making the K-12 curriculum available to Hawaii schools, ensuring that pediatricians have access to informational posters and their “Let’s Talk About Touching” coloring books, and presenting the Honolulu Theatre for Youth educational play Choice to teen students in discussion-group settings. For tips on how to talk to your child about sexual assault, parents are encouraged to visit the SATC website at

Cajun seasoning contains a variety of spices such as onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, thyme, basil, red pepper, nutmeg, and bay leaf. There are many commercial seasoning mixes on the market.

Some of the seasoning contains MSG, so look at the ingredient list if you are sensitive to MSG. Make sure to look at the sodium content, as some contain more salt than others.

You can also mix your own Cajun seasoning, by mixing 1 teaspoon of all of the above spices and omit the salt entirely.

Cajun food is pungent and peppery, so you can experiment with the seasoning to your liking.


* 2 pounds ground turkey breast
* 3 egg whites, slightly beaten
* 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs mixed with 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
* 1/4 cup grated Maui onion
* 2 tablespoons ketchup
* 1/2 cup barbeque sauce mixed with 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
* whole wheat hamburger buns

* lettuce
* sliced onion
* tomato slices

Preheat grill to high. Mix turkey and egg whites until combined. Add bread crumbs, onion and ketchup, and mix thoroughly, adding more crumbs if necessary so that patties hold together.

Form into 8 burgers, brush grill with oil, and place burgers on grill. Brush tops of burgers with seasoned sauce. Grill for about 7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through, brushing with sauce as needed. Serve with lettuce, onion, and tomato on toasted buns. Makes 8 burgers.

Approximate nutrition information (without bun)

Calories: 180
Fat: 4 grams
Cholesterol: 75 milligrams
Sodium: 350 (will vary with seasoning and barbeque sauce used)

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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