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Do you have any Labor Day plans? Maybe you’ll be spending the holiday with family and friends and grilling up some great food to share. Grilling can be a great way to connect with others and enjoy the outdoors. Plus, there are some health benefits associated with preparing food on the grill!

vegetables on a grill

Grilling fruits and vegetables can be a tasty way to get your “five a day the color way”!

MyPlate recommends we fill half our plate with fruits and vegetables. Eating a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables each day can help you live a longer, healthier life and protect you from certain chronic diseases such as heart disease and some types of cancer. Many fruits and vegetables can be grilled, and kabobs are a fun way to grill a variety of different colored fruits and veggies. See the videos below for suggestions to grill two favorite summer vegetables: sweet corn and zucchini.

In addition to the nutrients your grilled vegetables contain, you also get some Vitamin D when outside grilling. While most vitamins are obtained through our diets, the best way to get Vitamin D is by exposing your skin to sunlight. Vitamin D is nicknamed the “Sunshine Vitamin” because our bodies form it after exposure to sunlight.

While there are many nutritional benefits to cooking vegetables on the grill, it’s important to note that carcinogens – substances capable of causing cancer – can form when meats and proteins are cooked at very high temperatures. To reduce the formation of carcinogens when grilling, marinate your meats in an acidic liquid like vinegar before putting them on the grill. These carcinogens are only produced by meats, so no need to worry about them when grilling your vegetables.

Here’s to a safe and healthy Labor Day weekend, hopefully with some grilling involved!

Resources:

Axelrod, A. (2021). Friday Fix: How to make grilled foods healthier. Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. https://www.pancan.org/news/friday-fix-how-to-make-grilled-foods-healthier/.

McManus, K. (2019). Phytonutrients: Paint your plate with the color of the rainbow. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/phytonutrients-paint-your-plate-with-the-colors-of-the-rainbow-2019042516501

Written by Kacey Gonzalez, Dietetic Intern, Marshall University

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

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sweet corna

 

One of summer’s greatest pleasures is enjoying a fresh ear of sweet corn at a backyard barbecue.   We eagerly await the corn harvest, and now it’s here!  Fresh sweet corn is available in most communities throughout the month of August.

Corn is a nutrient-rich vegetable.  One ear of corn is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and potassium.  Corn is also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin; phyto-nutrients that are linked to a reduced risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.  Corn has about the same amount of calories as an apple, but with one-fourth less sugar.

To reap the full nutritional benefits of corn, cook no longer than 10 minutes in boiling water to minimize nutrient loss. While boiling is the primary way most of us prepare corn, grilling is a popular and tasty alternative. Other ways to enjoy this nutritious vegetable include mixing it into pasta dishes, corn bread, soups and/or salads.

For a different taste, try seasoning corn with lime juice instead of butter.  Or combine cooked corn kernels with chopped scallions, red pepper, hot pepper sauce and lime juice as a quick salsa for meat, poultry or fish.

So what are you waiting for?  In a few weeks corn season will be over. Make plans to visit your local farmer’s market to pick up some sweet corn this weekend!

Written by:  Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu
Resources:  Summer Corn – More Than Delicious, Web MD

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