Healthy Summer Grilling

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Beef and Corn on a Charcoal BBQ grill

Beef and Corn on a Charcoal BBQ grill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The grill just naturally works well with healthier choices: marinated chicken breast, salmon, lean cuts of beef. Add in the seasonal fruits and vegetables – bell peppers, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, pineapple, melons – and this is the best time of year to eat better and enjoy doing it. Here are some great ways to get the most of the grilling season:

Grilled portobello mushroom burgers – remove the stems, brush them with a little olive oil and season with garlic, salt, and pepper. Grill them for about eight minutes on each side then place them on whole-wheat buns – they are perfect just like that. If you want to add a little more flavor, try topping them with caramelized grilled onions and some blue cheese.

Fish tacos – salmon isn’t the only fish that holds up well on the grill. Grill some mahi-mahi, place it in some flour tortillas, add shredded cabbage and sliced onions, and top with tomato salsa.

Grilled Corn on the Cob – Soak the corn (in husk) in water for about 15 minutes. Remove the silk, but leave the husk intact. Place the husks back over the corn and place on the grill for roughly 45 minutes.

Fish and vegetables – Place fish fillets on foil squares. Add squash, zucchini, and some bell peppers. Add some olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Place the foil packets right on the grill.

Grilled Tofu (oh yes you can!) – Since tofu will stick to the grill, spray the barbecue with a non-stick cooking spray or rub it with some oil. Use firm tofu, press it, and marinate it for several hours (this marinade is easy and will taste great on tofu, chicken, or fish: mix 1/4 cup soy sauce with about 1/8 cup of maple syrup and a teaspoon of garlic powder).

Shrimp on the Barbie – Take some skewers and alternate shrimp, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and onion. Season them and place them on the grill until the shrimp is pinkish brown. If you want the vegetables cooked more, place them on the grill first on separate skewers and allow them to cook for about five-six minutes before adding the shrimp skewers. Toss the veggies and shrimp together after cooking.

Grilled eggplant – Cut the eggplant into half-inch-thick slices crosswise. Brush with olive oil and grill about 12 minutes on each side.

Summer salads – Lighten up your summer meals by making salads! Grill some chicken or pork tenderloins, then cut them into strips and put them on a bed of arugula, seedless grapes, sliced strawberries, and gorgonzola cheese. Mix balsamic vinegar, fresh thyme, salt and pepper, and olive oil together and drizzle it over the salad.

Summer salads, take two – For a hearty, filling salad, try grilling some steak. Slice the grilled steak and place it on a plate of spinach, feta cheese, blueberries, and walnuts. Serve it with a berry-balsamic vinaigrette: combine about 1/4 cup olive oil, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Combine it with berries you’ve placed in a food processor and blended: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries. Whisk together and drizzle over salad.

Healthy grilling isn’t just about what you put on the grill. Stay safe and follow these guidelines from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Also, don’t try to grill on your patio, balcony, or breezeway – use the grilling area of your apartment complex or head to a local park.

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