Great Grilling: Veggies!

Are you working on developing a healthy diet? Well, certainly the main component is choosing the right foods. But did you know that “how” you cook foods can have a huge impact also? Now that grilling season is upon us, there is reason to celebrate the health benefits of cooking your food on the grill rather than on the stove or in the oven.

  1. You eat less fat because the excess fat drips off the grates while cooking. Think about it - when you grill a burger on the grill, the fat cooks off. When you cook that same burger on a cooktop, the fat has nowhere to go and tends to be re-absorbed by the meat.
  2. When grilling veggies, they retain more of their vitamins and minerals when grilled. Wrapping in foil or even just placing them directly on the grill can be nutritionally advantageous over frying or boiling.
  3. When meat is cooked over a fire, it preserves more riboflavin and thiamine, key nutrients in a healthy diet.
  4. Because grilled foods generally lock in more moisture, you will be less likely to reach for butter or other condiments, some of which can be very high calorie.
  5. You grill outdoors!! Being outdoors encourages activity – even if you are tossing a ball or throwing a frisbee while you are cooking…. An added bonus!

Tips for good veggie grilling:

  1. Know how long to cook your particular veggie. Some take a minute or two to cook while others take longer. Denser vegetables, such as potatoes, will take the longest. Don’t use too-high heat for too long or they will become charred on the outside while staying raw on the inside.
  2. For best results and to prevent burning, sear vegetables over high heat, then move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. Or - precook them and just give them a few minutes on the grill to get some color on the outside.     
  3. Remember that you can use a grill basket or skewer for smaller veggies that might roll around or fall through the grate. Don’t have a grill basket? Create one by folding a 2-foot long piece of heavy duty foil in half and crimp the ends-voila!