Juicy peaches, red ripe and sweet tomatoes, fresh picked corn-on-the-cob. Its summer, the produce stands are brimming with farm fresh fruits and vegetables—two food categories that Americans simply do not eat enough of. So why not try grilling them to help you up your daily intake? What’s great about grilling veggies is they taste better grilled than just about any other way! Remember that marinating fruits and veggies first (such as coating quickly with a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar) will help them caramelize better to bring out the flavors. So, try these five superfoods that grill up perfectly, and give your summer BBQ a healthful makeover:
1. Pineapple. Most fruit is too fragile to grill. Not true for pineapple! Hearty pineapple is definitely an exception to this rule and tastes sweet and delicious after just a few minutes on the flame. Brush with a touch of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), toss on the grill and you have the perfect garnish to jazz up a burger or place under a grilled lobster tail. Nutritionally speaking, pineapple is low in calories and packed with vitamin C—1/2 cup provides you with 20% of your daily needs.
2. Asparagus. A simple marinade of EVOO and balsamic vinegar makes this super easy to make and flavor-packed veggie a must grill side dish. Nutritionally speaking, asparagus is actually a member of the lily family—extra low in calories yet rich in fiber, folic acid, potassium, thiamin, and vitamins A, B6, and C.
3. Corn. Grilled corn-on-the-cob is a popular menu item for BBQs and clam bakes and fortunately is a healthy nutrition choice too. Grilling brings out the natural sweetness in corn—and allows its natural sweet flavor to surface without the need for too many unhealthful additives. Roasting the corn in the husks is the best way to cook them (just be sure to soak in lightly salted water for 30 minutes before tossing them on the grill). Corn is quite nutritious—filled with phytochemicals, B vitamins, folic acid as well as a notable amount of protein.
4. Zucchini. Zucchini, sliced lengthwise, are super easy to grill and with their ability to capture those perfect crosshatch grill marks make them a nice visual addition to your menu. Flavor with a touch of EVOO and lemon juice, toss on a low heat and you’re good to go. Nutritionally speaking, zucchini falls into the super low calorie vegetable class (one entire zucchini contains a measly 20 calories). And for those 20 calories, you get a nice amount of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, calcium and iron.
5. Portobello mushrooms. Marinate these meaty mushrooms in a little EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic and onion for an hour, toss them onto a hot grill and it just doesn’t get any better than this for both taste and nutrition. Dense and flavorful, you can use them as a burger substitute, make them into pizzas, or serve them sliced as a side dish. Any way you eat them; these super-tasty and hearty mushrooms are the perfect low-calorie addition to your summer BBQ. Nutritionally speaking, these mushrooms pack a wallop. For just about 70 calories you get a nice amount of B vitamins, vitamin D, potassium and copper.
Make sure to add these five superfoods to your summer menu and enjoy the flavor and health benefits of bringing your nutrition outdoors and enjoying this favorite American summer pastime—grilling! Tap into the season’s bounty of fresh nutrient-packed foods. Use grilling for a flavor-packed light and healthy meal and enjoy the perfect outdoor cooking method. Don’t forget to combine your healthy summer BBQ with frequent workouts to keep your body beach-ready.