Healthy Summer Cooking: Enjoy Grilling Without the Guilt

June 8, 2010 at 9:21 am , by

What’s a lady to do when she finds herself caught between bikini season and backyard barbeque season? Eat up! Food Network’s Ellie Krieger dishes how to enjoy summer’s best fare without tipping the scale…

Think Outside The Burger
Summer’s such a bountiful time for incredible local produce, so take advantage of it. Most people think of putting zucchini or peppers on the grill, but Portobello mushrooms and corn on the cob are equally amazing. For a twist on salad, slice romaine  hearts or endive in half, brush them with oil, and throw them on the grill until softened. You get the beautiful flavor that you’re craving, but using seasonal produce versus protein.

Lose the Salt, Find the Seasoning
Even cutting salt modestly can make a big difference in your overall health, but it doesn’t mean you have to compromise flavor. I rely on potent flavors and aromatics like garlic, shallots, chili peppers, citrus, and fresh herbs. The important part to remember is that salt shouldn’t be the flavor foundation in any dish. Also, don’t be afraid of the spice rack – cumin and coriander are great to incorporate into rubs and marinades for grilling.

Trim The Fat
Hot dogs and ribs aren’t the only proteins worthy of the grill – lemon-filled salmon, for one, is another favorite of mine. For the more carnivorous crowd, try sticking to leaner cuts of meat (look for words like ‘loin’ or ‘round’). Rather than indulging in a gigantic steak as a whole, try thinly slicing it and serving as soft tacos with lots of chopped veggies and topped with fresh cilantro.

Slim Down On Sweets
I love grilling fruit, but just a piece of fruit seems more like a snack to me. So how do you make it into dessert? Try this: slice a peach in half, pop out the pit, grill it, and put a scoop of ice cream in the center. (full recipe below). Opt for lower fat ice cream that is all natural (no artificial flavors) or frozen yogurt. The important thing to remember when curbing your sweet tooth is to be mindful of portions. Even an ice cream cone, in moderation, is OK because it’s a contained portion compared to spooning it from the pint!

For more healthy ideas, check out Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger  airing M-F at 9:30am on Cooking Channel.

Photos Courtesy of: John Wiley & Sons, Inc./ SO EASY: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week


Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream

Grilled fruit makes it more decadent by intensifying its flavor, warming and plumping it. A little ice cream and a sprig of mint where the pit once was make these peaches a lovely finish to a summer meal.   MAKES 4 SERVINGS


4                  ripe but firm peaches

2                  teaspoons canola oil

½                  cup light vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt

8                  small sprigs fresh mint


Preheat a grill or nonstick grill pan over medium heat. Cut each peach in half and remove the pits. Brush the cut side of each peach half with oil. Place the peaches cut side down onto the grill or grill pan and cook until the peaches soften slightly and grill marks are formed, 2 to 3 minutes. Place a tablespoon-size scoop of ice cream in the center of each peach half. Garnish with mint and serve.


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