For many of us, staying in shape is a top priority. But I can still indulge in lean, flavorful grilled foods all summer. I love to try unexpected flavor combinations or techniques that punch up simple ingredients. So how do I do it?
Skip the fat
Skip the sauces and butter; grill items in parchment, foil or banana leaves. Doing so keeps meat moist and tender. Soak ears of corn (still in their husks) in water and then steam them. The corn comes out so tender, there’s no need for butter.
Skip high-calorie sauces and marinades and replace them with dry rubs. Mix your favorite dried herbs and spices and massage them into meats or vegetables before grilling. You’ll get high-impact flavor without the fat.
Skip meat altogether and replace it with grilled fruits and vegetables. The grill’s high heat brings out a bolder flavor in vegetables and sweetens the juices in fresh fruit.
The spice of life
Challenge yourself to incorporate a new herb or spice every time you grill, to add flavor without fat. Try smoked paprika from Spain, epazote from South America or sambal from India.
Sweet and sour
Preserved lemons, a favorite in Middle Eastern cuisine, can be mixed into yogurt or marinades in just minutes to use as toppings on simple fillets.
Discover your signature flavor combination. Mine is smoked paprika with cinnamon, oregano and olive oil. The cinnamon adds just a touch of sweetness.
Healthy international menu idea
- Main course: Grilled salmon charmoula
- Side dish: Couscous with grilled bell peppers and zucchini
- Dessert: Almond cake with pomegranate molasses caramelized peaches
Fast, fresh menu idea
- Main course: Portobello mushroom burgers with grilled tomatoes and onions on whole-wheat buns. Offer yogurt aioli (or mayo) mixed with fresh herbs.
- Side dish: Grilled asparagus
- Dessert: Maple-glazed peaches with low-fat frozen yogurt
How do you stay fit? What are your favorite grilling ideas for healthful eating?