Veggies on the grill
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]toriastandard.ca