Memorial Day cookouts: Healthy things to throw on the grill

Posted at 9:35 AM, May 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-19 10:35:37-04

While Memorial Day is a special time for remembering those who have died, it's also a time for gatherings of family and friends. And with those gathering usually come cookouts.

Most people have tried the grilling standards — hot dogs, hamburgers, asparagus and even corn on the cob, but what else can be thrown on the grill?

Chef Ryan Miller, executive chef and director of culinary services for Community First Solutions in Hamilton, Ohio, shared some unique and healthy items to sear and share with your cookout guests this summer.

Tofu: A healthier option, Tofu will take on any flavor profile that you marinade or season it with.

Pound cake: The sweet density of pound cake lets it take on some smoky flavor from the grilling process without falling apart or catching on fire. Top it off with some berries and whipped cream for a delicious dessert.

Oysters: Like Seafood? Oysters are a protein that many people overlook, and are great grilled with some lemon and sea salt. A grill basket would be best to use so they don’t fall through.

Watermelon: Believe it or not, watermelon gets even sweeter when grilled for a few seconds on each side. The sugars caramelize, concentrate, and offer a great sweet flavor for a healthy appetizer before the main meal.

Tomatoes: Cut in half, salted, drizzled with a little olive oil and grilled until well-marked, grilled tomatoes offer a pop of fresh, smoky flavor. A great item for salads or on its own. Switch salt for garlic salt and add some fresh mozzarella for an Italian taste.

Chef Ryan added that you can grill just about anything if you have the right utensils and cook it at the right heat —from fruit, to candy to pizza.

Check out grilling tips and a recipe for Bourbon Marinated Flank Steak to add to your menu, too.

Emily Glaser writes about the diverse wellness needs of older adults for Your Time, a Community First Solutions publication for people age 50 and older.