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Your Guide To Grilling Fruits and Veggies

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  May 23, 2013 01:46 PM

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Source: AICR
If you are finding it challenging to fill half your plate each meal with fruits and vegetables – a recommendation of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Institute for Cancer Research encourage Americans to add both color and nutrients to their cookouts by grilling with a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables.

“Fill up on fewer calories with nutrient-rich, low-calorie produce,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Judy Caplan. “It’s not only good for your waistline, but water-rich produce will also help keep you hydrated on hot summer days.”   A quick, easy and colorful way to pack nutrients into your grill-centered meal is to skewer marinated vegetables like red, yellow or orange bell peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, cherry tomatoes and onions into a tasty kabob. Simply brush the vegetables with olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices, and grill over medium heat; turning until marked and tender (about 12 – 15 minutes and 8 – 10 minutes for cherry tomatoes and pre-boiled potatoes).

“For a sweet treat, grill sliced watermelon for about 30 seconds on each side,” says Caplan.  “Some of the water will evaporate over the heat, which leaves an intensely flavored watermelon slice to savor and enjoy.”   Grilled sliced pineapple and fresh mango slices can double as a side dish or a  dessert topped with a scoop of light vanilla ice cream. 

Here are some more tips from the American Institute for Cancer Research to help you become a veggie grill master: 

Asparagus – Plunge spears into boiling water for 1 minute. Blot dry with paper towels. Line up 3-4 spears like soldiers and insert a toothpick through them 1-inch below the tips. Insert another toothpick 1-inch above the bottom. Brush lightly with olive oil. Grill for 2 minutes, turn and grill 2 minutes.

Broccoli – Select spears with fat stems. Cut off the stems 2 inches below the crown, then stand spears on end and cut them vertically into 3/4-inch slices. Blanch for 1 minute. Blot dry with paper towels. Brush slices lightly with olive oil. Grill for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on each side.

Carrots – Cut off the top and bottom of a fat, medium-large carrot. Cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Brush lightly with olive oil. Grill slices for 3 minutes, turn and grill for 2 more minutes.

Onions (red, yellow or sweet) – Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Insert 2 toothpicks crosswise into slices to hold them together on the grill. Brush lightly with olive oil. Grill for 2 minutes on each side.

Portobello Mushrooms – Select mushrooms about 3-inches across. Discard the stems and use a small knife to pare away ragged edges. Brush lightly with olive oil. Grill the mushrooms gill side up for 2 minutes, turn and grill for 2 minutes, or until no longer raw-looking inside at the thickest point.

Sweet Peppers – Choose peppers that are as square or triangular as possible, with sides that are flat. Standing a pepper on its bottom, hold a large knife and vertically cut off each side as a slab. Brush pepper pieces lightly with olive oil. Grill for 3 minutes, turn, and grill for 2 minutes.

Zucchini Squash – Cut off the top and bottom off a fat, medium-large squash. Cut the squash lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices. Brush lightly with olive oil. Grill for 2 minutes on each side.

Enjoy!

                                       Follow Joan on Twitter at: joansalgeblake
Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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