Get Fired Up About Grilling

Not only do grilled foods taste great, they also tend to be lighter in calories and fat than foods cooked other ways (like fried!).

Healthy Food

With Labor Day rapidly approaching, it’s a good idea to get your grill on before cold weather dampens the fire. Not only do grilled foods taste great, they also tend to be lighter in calories and fat than foods cooked other ways (like fried!).

Here, our top grilled picks for appetizers, entrées and desserts:

Toasty apps are all the rage, with chefs placing foods on the grill that are typically served straight out of the fridge. Grilled hearts of Romaine, for example, are fast becoming a preferred salad choice, along with grilled vegetable salads. In fact, some chefs believe that grilling produce like Romaine lettuce, mushrooms, bell peppers and onions, helps bring out their natural flavors with hints of bitter and sweet. Grilled bread typically makes an appearance when accompanied by bruschetta, hummus and other spreads. And grilled shrimp and scallops still reign as perfect appetizer fare.

Grilled entrées are always a hot ticket. The crisp edges, subtle smoky flavor, signature char marks, YUM! Even better, nearly every main dish staple works great on the grill, from a simple chicken breast to an exotic collection of vegetables. A bonus if you go the veggie route: Grilling veggies rather than roasting, steaming or baking them often leaves the inside of the vegetable raw, which preserves many of the vitamins and micronutrients that can be destroyed by prolonged cooking. The key is to make sure your food isn’t charred or badly blackened! Char = cancer causing chemicals.

Firing up the grill for dessert not only releases foods’ natural sugars, but it also provides the perfect accompaniment for cold desserts like ice cream and frozen yogurt. From peaches, plums and pineapple to cakes and quick breads, grilling dessert is hot! This is one fancy dessert you can easily do at home. Just cut thick slices of fruit and grill on one side only. Use high heat for a quick sear. You’ll caramelize the surface sugar and create those signature grill lines. Heat the fruit through to warm, not charred! Want something a little more decadent? Pound cake, zucchini bread, banana bread and lemon cake are great grilling candidates. Pair them with grilled pineapple and coconut sorbet for a tropical treat.

In the mood for some grilled perfection?  Here are some grilled menu choices from participating Healthy Dining restaurants.

About the Author:

Amy Paturel, M.S., M.P.H
Guest Blogger
Amy Paturel writes about health, fitness, food, wine and travel for a variety of clients from general interest magazines to medical e-zines. Her work frequently appears in such publications as Glamour, Health, Eating Well, Women’s Health and Marie Claire. Amy is an award winning essayist and a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). She has contributed essays to national and international magazines, newspapers and niche publications, and she has been featured twice in Newsweek’s “My Turn” column.

Prior to devoting herself to writing, Amy researched and analyzed health behaviors for top governmental agencies including the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health Services. She earned a Master of Science in Nutrition and a Master of Public Health at Tufts University in Boston.

Amy’s background in nutrition and affinity for cooking (and eating) has led to dozens of restaurant reviews for outlets such as and Wine & Dine. She has a passion for food, adventure and travel and loves to share insider tips about various destinations.