Tips for Cooking Healthy Foods on the Grill

Boy and girl holding up plates next to grill cooking vegetables and pineapple
Jon Feingersh / Getty Images

Don't limit yourself to hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks — grilling can be a very healthful method for cooking a variety of foods because you don't need to add extra fats and calories. Fish, poultry, vegetables, and even some fruits can be prepared on your outdoor grill.

Healthy Foods You Can Cook on the Grill

For a healthier version of French fries, spray the inside of an old metal cake pan with a non-stick cooking spray, then scatter thinly cut strips of raw potatoes in the pan. Add a little salt (or potassium chloride or MSG as an alternative) and pepper and place the pan on the grill over a low flame. Go back and turn the potatoes occasionally until they are tender and ready to serve.

A great way to cook fish is to place a fillet on a large sheet of aluminum foil with a few fresh herbs, a little garlic, some lemon slices and a splash of white wine. Carefully fold the aluminum foil into a packet and place it on the grill and cook until the fish is done.

Roasted sweet corn is so easy to prepare on your grill. Take a few ears of corn with the husks still on and remove the silk tassels. Soak the ears of corn in water for about 30 minutes, and then place the corn, husks and all, on the grill for five to ten minutes. Pull back the husks and serve with a light coating of butter and a little salt or salt alternative. You might also consider making a light and easy Mexican-style corn.

Finally, try grilling pineapple slices for dessert. This one is very simple. Buy a can of sliced pineapple and place the slices on the grill and cook them until they are heated through, just a couple of minutes. Serve the pineapple rings with a little bit of yogurt and a sprinkling of nuts.

Tips for Healthy Grilling

  • Keep your outdoor grill clean and well-maintained.
  • Wash the grates each time you use your grill or use grill liners.
  • Keep perishables in the refrigerator or cooler until cooking time.
  • Keep raw meats separated from cooked foods and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook meats to the proper temperature — use a meat thermometer to be sure.
  • Don't overcook your meats and remove any charred black portions.
  • Trim excess fat before cooking to reduce the risk of flare-ups that burn the meat.
  • Choose lean cuts of beef, fish, poultry, or game meats instead of hot dogs, high-fat hamburgers, and sausages.
  • Marinate meats before grilling to reduce the formation of heterocyclic amines (from charring) and to add flavor.
  • Add sauces at the end of the cooking time to prevent burning.
  • Grill vegetables such as potatoes, zucchini, peppers, and eggplant.
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