As the summer heat ramps up, you’re ready to head outside, fire up your grill, and use it to take care of many of your summer meals. Not only does it prevent you from having to heat up the entire kitchen — and often the entire house — to make a meal, grilling is a healthier way to prepare many common foods.

Grilled foods typically aren’t breaded or dripping in grease the way they would be if they were, for example, fried. Not only that, some of the grease and fat naturally in sauces and grilled meats drips onto the grill as you’re cooking, reducing the calories and fat in many common foods. It may surprise you, however, to realize that grilling isn’t just for meat. There are many fruits and vegetables that can also be prepared on your grill, making it a great way to enjoy plenty of seasonal favorites besides burgers, steaks, and ribs.

Vegetables

There is a wide range of vegetables that can be prepared on the grill. You’ve probably heard that you can grill corn still in the husk, adding a dose of eye-boosting phytochemicals and dietary fiber. Corn also offers a great dose of antioxidants that are increased by cooking, making it a great thing to throw on your grill. There are plenty of other great options, too.

Zucchini and squash are low in calories and natural sugars and high in fiber. They also offer a great dose of antioxidants and vitamin C. Zucchini and squash are excellent grilled on tinfoil or placed directly on the grill in kabob form.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of copper, vitamin A, and beta-carotene. Slice them into thin wedges, then place directly on the grill to enjoy this great vegetable.

Mushrooms, which are high in vitamin D, are an excellent addition to any grilled meal. Simply toss them on the grill directly, fold them up in aluminum foil, or add them to a kabob. Make sure that if you’re grilling them directly, your mushrooms are big enough that they won’t fall through the grates!

Asparagus is a great seasonal choice for grilling! High in B vitamins, vitamin C and K, asparagus can be wrapped in foil or placed directly on the grill, depending on how you prefer to cook it.

Fruits

You’ve experimented with vegetable kabobs. You’ve grilled meats of all varieties. If you’ve never taken the opportunity to grill your fruit, however, you’re missing out on an amazing sweet treat! Tossing your fruits on the grill increases the flavor of their natural sugars, leaving you feeling as though you’ve had a great dessert with a fraction of the calorie count of many sugar-filled dessert options.

Pineapple is a popular grilled favorite. Pineapples, which are high in vitamin C and potassium, are among the easiest fruits to grill. You can even throw them on with the skin still intact!

Peaches are ready to take the heat on the grill and deliver a great source of calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Grill them up alone or serve them with vanilla ice cream, depending on your flavor preference!

Watermelon is filled with great nutrients — especially considering the fact that this low-calorie fruit is mostly water! Filled with vitamin A, B6, C, and lycopene, this iconic summer fruit tastes even better when you throw it on the grill to round off your meal.

With so many options to choose from, it will be no surprise when you keep your grill fired up most of the summer. Cooking outdoors is a great summer experience, and when you add in the health benefits, it makes it an even more desirable part of your summer routine.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/a-healthier-way-of-grilling#1

http://www.eatingwell.com/blogs/health_blog/is_corn_healthy_or_not_5_myths_about_sweet_corn_busted

http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?dbid=64&tname=foodspice

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/5-health-benefits-of-mushrooms/

https://draxe.com/zucchini-nutrition/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=12

http://www.livescience.com/45487-pineapple-nutrition.html

http://www.livescience.com/46019-watermelon-nutrition.html