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Fire Up Fresh Flavors

Sallie Yakowicz, Program Assistant, NDSU Extension Service

May is National Barbecue Month! As the sun starts making its way out of hiding, get out the grill and enjoy some fired-up foods with your family. Swap the fatty meats and calorie-dense options for some fresh, original barbecuing ideas.

Choose a lean protein, such as chicken, turkey or pork. Try skinless cuts of meat to reduce fat and cholesterol. Season with a light marinade or herbs such as thyme, garlic, or rosemary to get a unique taste without the added sugar of barbeque sauce.

Grill a variety of vegetables. Classic corn on the cob is good, but try to incorporate some new varieties of grilled veggies. Zucchini, peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and many more taste great fresh from the grill. Try putting an array of veggies on kebabs, along with cubes of lean meat or shrimp. Make it a goal to add as many different colors to the grill as possible.

Grill vegetables by cutting them in half before cooking. These warm, charred veggies become “boats” that can be stuffed with rice, ground meats, more veggies, or any variety of toppings for a low-carb, filling meal. Try this idea with bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and avocados.

Try grilling fruit. Sweet options, such as watermelon, pineapple, peaches and pear slices, become slightly caramelized on the grill. Pairing them with a hard cheese or a scoop of yogurt can be a refreshing accompaniment to any barbecue.

Whether it be choosing leaner alternatives, adding all kinds of veggies, or trying a grilled fruit dessert, we have many different ways to add some variety to a barbecue. This month, get out and enjoy the spring sun as you explore new ideas to bring from the grill to the dinner table.

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Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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