During the hot summer months, grilling is an easy, fun and healthy way to cook. While many grilled foods are loaded with fat, sodium and calories, these choices let you eat healthfully and enjoy the pleasures of flame-cooked dishes.
1. Grilled chicken. Low in fat and so versatile, chicken is a healthy protein that you can grill and serve over a salad, marinate in your favorite sauce, toss in a stir-fry or turn into Mexican style meal.
2. Pineapple. Grilling brings out the fruit’s natural sweetness. With about 80 calories per serving and 2.3 grams of fiber, healthy amounts of potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C, pineapple is more than just a tropical treat you can enjoy occasionally.
3. Zucchini. Delicious sliced, marinated and grilled, zucchini and other summer squash are naturally low in calories (only 17 per serving) and pack a boost of folate, vitamin A and vitamin C.
4. Salmon. A great source of lean protein, salmon has just 22 grams of fat per 3 ounce serving and it’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 help to reduce inflammation in your body. Other benefits include lowering blood pressure, reducing triglycerides and improves memory.
5. Bell peppers. With 213 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement and 101 percent of your daily vitamin A needs, bell peppers are always a healthy choice. Grilling enhances their natural sweetness, and make them a delicious complement to chicken fajitas and other cool dishes.
6. Peaches. Summer is the only time you can get truly fresh peaches. Grilling adds depth to their flavor that can be a tasty part of a dessert, such as with ice cream, or savory dishes, such as with grilled chicken. Peaches are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect against harmful free radicals.
7. Asparagus. Even if you or your family don’t love steamed asparagus, you may discover you like it much better cooked over an open fire. It’s a great source of fiber, folate and vitamin K, which supports bone health and helps to prevent neuronal damage in the brain. Folate is very important during the beginning of pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in babies.
8. Eggplant. Eggplant soaks up the flavors of different marinades and cooks well on the grill. Great marinade choices include balsamic vinaigrette, Italian dressings or fresh basil and olive oil. A serving of eggplant contains only 24 calories. The dark purple peel contains anthocyanins which help protect against cancer, inflammation, aging and neurological diseases.