Veg­gies on the grill

The Victoria Standard - - Health / Community - HEIDI MOR­RI­SON with Heidi Mor­ri­son

Sum­mer is in full swing, and with the heat and high hu­mid­ity, no one wants to be in the kitchen! An out­door grill is a great way to avoid turn­ing on the oven and still pre­pare a va­ri­ety of healthy op­tions.

Any­one tired of burg­ers and hot dogs yet? While it is easy to mix up a su­per sum­mer salad or a big dish of wa­ter­melon to add some healthy op­tions, the sat­u­rated fat, salt and calo­ries in pro­cessed beef and pork can add up!

Why not make veg­eta­bles the main dish? Cut up zuc­chini, bell pep­pers, or as­para­gus in large chunks and mari­nade in a bal­samic dress­ing for 30 min­utes be­fore grilling. Frozen veg­eta­bles steam well when tightly wrapped up in foil. Try sautéing veg­eta­bles on an alu­minum pie plate. Melt but­ter, add your favourite veg­gies, sea­son and stir oc­ca­sion­ally.

Try grilling corn on the cob! Soak your corn in wa­ter for 1530 min­utes be­fore grilling to help pre­vent it from dry­ing out. Af­ter the husk and silk are re­moved, brush the corn with oil and turn a quar­ter turn ev­ery 2 min­utes for about 8 to 10 mins. Al­ter­na­tively, steam your corn by wrap­ping shucked corn in foil for 8 to 10 min­utes; it can then re­main in the foil to keep warm un­til ready to eat.

Try bar­be­cu­ing items on skew­ers. Soak wooden skew­ers in wa­ter overnight to help pre­vent them from burn­ing up. Metal skew­ers are re­us­able and non-flammable, but they stay hot, so be care­ful! Although meat and veg­eta­bles look pretty when skew­ered to­gether (think shish ke­bab), it is tricky to en­sure each item is fully cooked. Skewer each item sep­a­rately! For ex­am­ple, cre­ate a skewer of your fa­vorite meat, or shrimp, and skew­ers of your fa­vorite veg­eta­bles (baby toma­toes, brus­sel sprouts, mush­rooms). The trick is to cut them in equal size pieces to help with even cook­ing. Then place ev­ery­thing from the skew­ers into large bowls, add a fresh herb to brighten things up and you have a beau­ti­ful meal!

If you have a pizza stone, try it on the bar­be­cue! Place the stone on the cold grill and pre-heat. Sprin­kle corn meal on the hot stone just prior to plac­ing the pre­pared pizza to help pre­vent stick­ing. Try in­di­rect heat; af­ter the stone heats, turn off the burn­ers di­rectly un­der­neath. Re­mem­ber, pizza on the grill cooks fast! Try a cooked chicken, spinach and red pep­per pizza for a more nu­tri­tious op­tion.

For home­made burg­ers, try ground chicken or turkey. Han­dle the ground meat as lit­tle as pos­si­ble, add your fa­vorite sea­son­ings and avoid adding liq­uid sea­son­ings to pre­vent it from falling apart while cook­ing. Dress up burg­ers with fresh tomato, spinach or av­o­cado for that nu­tri­tional boost!

And lastly, use that side burner! Cook up some quinoa or boil a few eggs to have with a salad, or even warm up left­overs you may have in your fridge.

Us­ing the bar­be­cue is a great way to beat the heat, but be creative and aim for meals that are nu­tri­tious and de­li­cious!

Heidi Mor­ri­son has a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Hu­man Nu­tri­tion. Have a ques­tion about food or nu­tri­tion? Email healthyeat­[email protected]­to­ri­a­s­tan­

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