Summertime and the Grilling is Easy: 10 Tips for Tasty, Healthy Meals from Meatless Monday
The start of summer is the perfect time to enjoy delicious, sizzling meals straight off the grill! Meatless grilling is an easy way to enjoy seasonal flavors without ruining your swimsuit diet. Plus, the occasional vegetarian dish can help you incorporate more vitamin-packed vegetables into your diet and reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases.
"Americans love grilling and eating a lot of meat, but consuming red and processed meat, like our beloved hamburgers and hot dogs, has been linked to a host of illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer," says Allison Cappelaere, Registered Dietitian and Project Director for the Johns Hopkins Meatless Monday Project. "What's more, cooking and grilling meat at high temperatures—especially when charred—releases cancer-causing compounds and increases health risks."
It's easy to remember to cut back with Meatless Monday, a public health campaign that encourages individuals to start the week with healthy meals. Founded in 2003 and backed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the campaign has become an international movement with support from celebrities, chefs, schools and communities.
So fire up the grill and take a break from meat with these 10 easy summer grilling tips:
1. Kabobs are a BBQ staple that can easily go meatless. Add tofu cubes, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted potatoes or any other vegetable that strikes your fancy.
2. Many vegetables can be thrown right on the grill (with delicious results)! Try fresh corn, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, squash or bell peppers.
3. You can also add fruit to the grill for a sweet side or dessert. Try peach halves, pineapples, melon, kiwi or figs with a touch of honey marinade.
4. Swap your burger for a portobello mushroom or grilled eggplant slices. Put it on a bun and add interesting toppings like avocados, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, or an olive spread.
5. Try a veggie burger recipe that celebrates hearty ingredients like black beans, lentils, quinoa and chickpeas. You can also find pre-made patties at supermarkets and natural food stores.
6. All you need is pizza dough, the usual toppings and your favorite thinly sliced or pre-grilled vegetables to make a delicious, smoky pie right on the grill.
7. Use your favorite marinade recipe to add flavor to extra firm tofu cubes. Grill them up and add them to a salad, serve with veggies, or enjoy them on their own.
8. Try grilled vegetables to make a filling summer salad. Add a bit of fruit, feta or olive oil to complete the dish; or think beyond lettuce and concoct a bean or grain salad.
9. Consider your sides when planning a meatless BBQ. Pasta salads, raw vegetables and hummus dip are great ways to turn your plant-based dishes into a full meal.
10. End the meal on a healthy note with a tray of fresh fruit, a parfait or homemade smoothies.