Nutrition Articles

Beyond Burgers: Fun Foods You Can Grill

Turn Up the Heat for a Nutritious, Balanced Meal


Asparagus hot off the grill is especially good. Lightly coat the washed, trimmed spears with olive or canola oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper (optional). You can lay the spears directly on the grill (crosswise) for about 5 minutes or until they reach your preferred tenderness. If you're nervous about the spears falling into the flames below, you can make foil pockets for your asparagus (see below) or buy an asparagus basket.

Tomatoes and peppers take on a great smoky flavor when grilled. Leave them whole and place them over the hottest part of the grill. When the skin is black and blistered, the vegetables are ready. Allow them to cool, then remove the charred skin and the stem and seeds (only for peppers). Do not rinse the vegetables after grilling or you will lose flavor. Chop them and combine with other vegetables for a salsa with a smoky kick, throw them on salads or place slices of roasted peppers on sandwiches. Roasted tomatoes are especially tasty when smashed on a good piece of bread. Any sweet or hot pepper can be roasted, and Roma or plum tomatoes are sturdy enough to endure grilling.

Foil pockets are a great way to grill a variety of veggies that might be too small to place directly on the grill surface. Veggies that work well in a pocket include white potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onion slices, zucchini, squash, green beans, asparagus, artichokes, garlic cloves, mushrooms, and all types of peppers—sweet or hot. When preparing your veggies for grilling, cut or slice into pieces of uniform size and thickness so they cook evenly. Root veggies (like potatoes and carrots) may need a splash of water in the pocket to help create some steam.

To make a foil pocket, use heavy-duty aluminum foil. Lay out a large single sheet, spray one side with cooking spray, and fold foil in half. Crimp or fold over two of the open sides, leaving one side open to insert your vegetables. Once you tuck the veggies inside, add seasonings, then crimp the opening so the pocket is completely closed. (Be sure to fold this side loosely to make checking in on your masterpiece a cinch.) Now you’re now ready to hit the grill! Grill the pocket on the top rack of your grill where temperatures are a bit lower. Flip the pocket once halfway through cooking using oven mitts—not tongs or a fork, which might pierce the pocket. Cooking time will vary depending on size, type and amount of veggies you grill, but most veggies will cook in a foil pocket within 25-30 minutes.

With so many dishes to choose, you’ll be itching to fire up your grill nightly to show off your newfound grill skills to your family, friends and neighbors. Don't worry—we won't tell them it's good for them if you don't!

Need more great grilling ideas? Check out our e-book, ''SparkPeople's Ultimate Grilling Guide: 75 Hearty, Healthy Recipes You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Into.'' Get it on and get grilling!
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About The Author

Sarah Haan Sarah Haan
Sarah is a registered dietitian with a bachelor's degree in dietetics. She helps individuals adopt healthy lifestyles and manage their weight. An avid exerciser and cook, Sarah likes to run, lift weights and eat good food. See all of Sarah's articles.

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