With the weather warming up, it’s finally time to dust off the grill. Instead of the boring barbecue staples that are over-processed and loaded with excess saturated fat, try incorporating a few new healthy foods into your grilling repertoire. Choosing more plant-based options can provide more fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
This delicious fruit cooks perfectly on the grill. You can serve it as a dessert with a drizzle of honey and a little whipped cream, but try changing things up and adding a tropical twist to your typical burger. Instead of serving your burger on a bun, opt for a pineapple bun
instead. Grill a delicious turkey burger, and top with lettuce, tomato, red onion and a slice of pepper jack cheese. Serve between two slices of grilled pineapple. The bright flavor adds a delicious tropical twist.
Fire up the grill with this yummy vegetable that is low in calories and high in nutrients. Fiber, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C are just a few of the nutrients abundant in asparagus. Trim the bottom of the spears to keep that tough end off. Serve grilled asparagus alongside any dish at the barbecue or use to top your burger. Better yet, chop the grilled asparagus and add to any summer salad or ancient grain side dish.
Eggplant is another lower-calorie food that is high in fiber and rich in nutrients. Eggplants are simple and grill up very nicely. Slice your eggplant lengthwise to create long pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and pepper, and grill evenly on each side. Serve the eggplant as a side dish, or top with a spread such as salsa, guacamole or hummus.
This hearty plant-based option is a great meatless alternative to your typical burger; it’s the steak of veggie burgers. Large Portobello mushrooms are truly the perfect burger material. Marinate them well and fire up the grill. Serve as you would a traditional burger and don’t forget yummy toppings.
Foil packs on the grill are easy for prep, simple to cook and require virtually no clean-up. Plus, the flavors get to really infuse nicely together inside the foil-pack. Fish, especially salmon and shrimp, always cooks very nicely in a foil pack on the grill. Browse the Internet for different foil-pack recipes to grill up this season.
Make an effort this year to highlight vegetables as the star of the show and try to limit your red and processed meat consumption by opting for lean proteins, such as fish, for heart-healthy benefits.
Stefani Pappas, MS, RDN, CSO, CDN, CPT, is a Clinical Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer. She also provides private nutrition counseling at her office in Great Neck. Visit her website www.stefhealthtips.com for more information or call 516-216-9909 to schedule an appointment.