Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Is the warmer weather inspiring you to fire up the grill and enjoy the unique flavors of the great outdoors? You might think the grill can only be used to cook up your favorite meats like hotdogs, hamburgers or chicken. But don’t be fooled! Some of the most flavorful foods of warmer weather are fruits and vegetables prepared right on the grill! Grilling fruits and vegetables helps limit nutrient loss, brings out natural sweetness and locks in flavor.

Almost any fruit or vegetable can be cooked on the grill. Just follow a few simple tips …

    • Choose fruits and veggies that are ripe, but not too soft so they’ll hold up well on the grill.
    • Avoid direct heat or flames.
    • Cut fruits and vegetables into large equal pieces to keep them from falling through the grates and to ensure even cooking.
    • Grill fruits and vegetables with the skin on to help maintain the shape.
    • Before or during grilling, brush fruits and vegetables with melted butter or margarine to help avoid sticking to the grates.

Final Touches
Fruits are naturally sweet and become even sweeter with grilling. You can add a tasty twist to your grilled fruit by sprinkling with cinnamon or lemon juice.

Vegetables can be flavored with herbs and spices of your choice. Browned grill marks are desirable on vegetables; they are fully cooked when you can gently pierce with a fork.

Caution – fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water that can become very hot when grilled. Be sure to allow proper cooling time.

What to Grill?

Recipe

This quick, low-calorie, nutritious dessert is sure to have your taste buds dancing! For a little extra sweetness, pair kabobs with a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream.

Grilled Fruit Kebabs
Preparation: 15-20 minutes
Cook: 8-10 minutes
Servings: About 8

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 apples, cored and cut into 1″ pieces
    • 2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
    • 2 peaches, pitted and cut into 1″ pieces
    • 4 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced into 1″ pieces
    • 3 cups cubed pineapple (1″ pieces)
    • 3 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
    • 8 wooden skewers, soaked

Directions

  1. Prepare grill.
  2. In a small bowl, combine oil, lime juice, and cinnamon. Mix well.
  3. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for about 10 minutes to prevent scorching. Alternate fruit pieces and thread onto skewers.
  4. Brush kebabs with the lime juice mixture then place on grill.
  5. Grill kebabs for about 6 t0 8 minutes, turning frequently until fruit starts to brown and is heated through.

Nutrition Information:
Calories: 156, Total Fat: 4.0 g (Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0g), Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 3mg; Carbohydrate 31g, Fiber 5g; Protein 2g

Written by: Christina Handschuh, UMDNJ Dietetic Intern
Reviewed by: Jacqueline Gomes, RD, MBA

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