Staples for Healthy Grilling

May 12, 2014

May is National Barbecue Month and I have to admit – I love grilling. Having outdoor barbeques is one of my favorite things about summer because it helps us put together healthful meals in minutes without heating up the kitchen. Even better, there’s hardly any clean-up to do afterwards. In order to put last minute lunches or dinners together on the grill, here are top foods that are essential for keeping on hand.

Andrea Luttrell

Pizza Dough – If you love crispy brick oven pizza, you have to give grilled pizza a try. Simply preheat your grill to medium-high heat (approximately 400°F) then roll refrigerated dough out on heavy-duty aluminum foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Once your grill is hot, flip dough onto the grates and carefully peel off the foil. Let cook for 2-3 minutes until the crust is golden brown then flip over for another minute or two. Remove crust from heat, add desired toppings then reduce heat to low. Return pizza to the barbeque and cover until the cheese is melted.

Cheese – Whether you’re grilling pizza, burgers or chicken, it’s a matter of fact that cheese makes everything better. Besides the old standbys like sliced American and cheddar, think outside the box with varieties like feta, gorgonzola and fresh mozzarella. Because they’re so flavorful, you can use less to save on calories and fat. Try combinations like spinach, garlic and feta pizza; Cajun seasoned turkey burgers topped with onions and gorgonzola; or grilled chicken with bruschetta and fresh mozzarella.

Lean Meats – For the best sources of protein to grill, focus on lean options. This reduces the amount of smoke produced when fat drips on the grill, which may be helpful when it comes to preventing certain cancers. Poultry like chicken breast and turkey burgers; seafood like salmon and swordfish; and even vegetarian protein options like soy burgers and kabobs made with firm tofu are all great choices for grilling. When enjoying red meats like beef and pork, look for “loin” or “round” cuts for the leanest options, while trimming any visible fat.

Vegetables & Fruit – Keeping your refrigerator and freezer stocked with fruits and vegetables is a surefire way to fill half your plate with colorful produce at every meal. Reheat frozen sliced peppers and onions on the grill by wrapping in aluminum foil and barbequing until soft. Don’t have time to cut and peel potatoes? Add refrigerated chopped potatoes to your veggies and you have a complete side in no time. For an impressive dessert, slice fruits like peaches, watermelon and pineapple, brush with olive oil and then grill for a few minutes on each side until tender. Serve with whipped cream and you’re ready to enjoy this sweet and smoky treat.

What are your own healthy grilling staples? Share in the comments below!


Andrea Luttrell is a registered dietitian nutritionist for the Living Well Eating Smart program at Big Y® Foods. Have a nutrition question? E-mail her at [email protected]

Big Y® is a family owned and family oriented retail food company serving people’s at home food needs.

Big Y® Foods is a member of the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association.

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