Wednesday, July 21, 2010

LV's Nutrition and Fitness Blog: Try Something New: Summer Fruit on the Grill

LV's Nutrition and Fitness Blog: Try Something New: Summer Fruit on the Grill

Try Something New: Summer Fruit on the Grill

Desserts Made on the Grill

When you think of desserts to serve with foods you make on the grill, you think of ice cream, freezer pops, and smores. Here are some healthful ways to make some sweet treats on the barbecue that will refresh, inspire, and satisfy family members and guests.

Think about grilling fruit. The heat caramelizes the sugars and brings out the juices in stone fruits, such as peaches, plums, and nectarines. Pineapples, pears, apples, and bananas also are great for grilling.

Grilled Fruit
1-2 tablespoons (Tbsp) honey
Lemon juice (from one lemon)
½ teaspoon (tsp) nutmeg
Cooking spray
Directions for Grilling Fruit:

Clean grill thoroughly and heat to 400° F.

In a large plastic bag or bowl, make a marinade with the juice of one lemon, 1-2 Tbsp of honey, depending on how sweet your fruit is, and a ½ tsp nutmeg. Slice fruit in half and remove seeds and cores. Do not remove skin. Add to marinade. Coat grill with cooking spray and then place fruit on the grill. Do not move fruit often. Flip softer fruits (peaches, plums, bananas) after 2 minutes and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Harder fruits can tolerate 3-4 minutes/side without falling apart.

Consider topping with sorbet, yogurt, or granita. You also can add rum or juices to the marinade for extra flavor. The alcohol will cook off on the grill, but the flavor will last! You also can turn this recipe into kebabs for a beautiful presentation.

Stuffed Grilled Peaches
Four large peaches
1 cup (C) fresh blueberries
3 Tbsp brown sugar
One half fresh lemon

Wash peaches and cut them in half. Remove the pit and place peach halves on aluminum foil. Spoon 2 Tbsp of blueberries into each peach half. Sprinkle 2 tsp of brown sugar on each and squeeze lemon juice over the top.
Fold up foil and seal tightly. Place on medium hot grill and cook for about 15 minutes, turning once. Serve right out of the foil.

Grilled Dessert Pizza
Homemade or store-bought pizza dough
8 ounces (oz) goat cheese
¼ C honey
1 pound (lb) strawberries or fruit of choice (bananas, peaches, plums, pineapple)
¼ C rum
2 Tbsp sugar
Cooking spray
Chocolate syrup

Clean grill and heat to 500° F.
Combine strawberries or fruit with the rum and sugar. Let rest for 15 minutes to 2 hours. Smooth dough into 12-inch round crust.

Combine the goat cheese and honey with a fork and spread evenly on the pizza dough. Top with fruit, leaving the juices in the bowl. Before placing the pizza on the grill, spray liberally with cooking spray. Cook for 9-12 minutes, rotating the pizza every few minutes to make sure it does not stick. Remove from the grill and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

4th of July Healthy Picnic Staples

4th of July Weekend is finally here! There will be plenty of outdoor barbecues, food, fireworks, and fun going on! If healthy meals and snacks are not planned out beforehand, it can become an endless series of mindless eating that may take many hours at the gym to burn off.

Follow these health-minded tips when planning your weekend festivities:

• Grocery Shopping: Take a minute to really think about what is most important to you before you go to the grocery store. Decide on your weekend meal plan and write your grocery list accordingly before you shop. This helps you save money and time at the grocery store and you will feel good about the choices you make and prepare accordingly.

• Water: Pack plenty of water. Don't waste your money on soft drinks, juices, or non-nutritive beverages. Use juice boxes containing 100% juice as an occasional treat for kids, but even the most healthful juices contribute excess calories. Teach kids to drink water now, and they will do this forever. Freeze your water bottles or partially freeze them. Take individual Propel packets with you to add to water bottles to add some flavor and provide electrolytes when outside in the heat all day.

• Fruit: Natures candy is fruit. Pack fruit whole if you can, so you have less to clean up later, or slice it up and put it in plastic containers. You can also freeze grapes and blueberries for a yummy snack. It is virtually impossible to compromise your health by eating too much fruit or too many vegetables; so, pack extra. You will eat them!

• The menu: Consider foods that don't spoil as quickly as "main" dishes. Bagels, Sandwich thins, High fiber crackers, Individual packets of humus and peanut butter, dry turkey sandwiches (Add the condiments later), and vinegar-based pasta and black bean salads.

• High-fiber snacks: Portion your own high-fiber snacks into snack baggies. This way you can control your snack foods. Look for 3g of fiber or more per serving for snack food items. As soon as you open crackers, nuts, pretzels, cereals, dried fruit, popcorn, and trail mixes, separate them into serving portions and store the item in individual baggies. This way you are less likely to overeat from the larger container.

Have a Happy and Healthy 4th of July!