Thinking of cooking hot dogs, hamburgers and brats on the grill this summer? These foods all add lots of fat and calories to your meal, so you'd do well to think about venturing out a bit and grilling up some lower fat options.
There are plenty of other choices that are great for your taste buds as well as your waistline. Freshen things up a bit by grilling a variety of fruits, vegetables and lean meats.
Cooking vegetables right on the grill adds a wonderful flavor. Baste firm vegetables like peppers, corn, eggplant and mushrooms with balsamic vinegar. Then season them with herbs and place them on a hot grill until they are tender and brown, usually about 10 to 15 minutes.
Place harder root vegetables like carrots and rutabagas in heavy-duty foil and sprinkle them with a little water and seasoning. Then wrap the foil closed and place the bundle on the grill until the vegetables are tender.
Marinate lean meats, including poultry and fish, before grilling. A simple oil and vinegar dressing in a zip-top plastic bag works well and makes for quick cleanup. Brush on light, oil-based sauces during grilling, but baste with sauces containing sugars (fruit puree, honey, preserves) toward the end of the cooking so they don't burn.
Kabobs made from fruit are a delicious ending to any meal. Place them right on the grill, over low heat, until the fruit is hot and slightly golden.
To learn more about selecting and barbecuing lean meats, see Fire Up the BBQ and Make It Lean.
To learn more about fun and healthy alternatives to meat, see Barbecuing Fruits and Vegetables.
Treat yourself to something new from the BBQ this summer!
Megan Porter, RD