Vegetables are delicious, a great source of vitamins and nutrients, and low in fat and salt. Half your plate should be filled with vegetables and fruits. Summertime is a terrific opportunity to cook up a nice variety of vegetables. Take advantage of this time of the year to introduce your family to wonderful new flavors.
Vary your veggies
Vegetables of different colors and textures have different flavors, vitamins, and nutrients. To get the biggest healthy benefit from vegetables, it’s best to eat a wide variety. Vegetables of different colors contain different vitamins. Serve a rainbow of colors at meals to take advantage of the nutrition that vegetables have to offer.
Set a good example
Your children learn from you and aspire to be just like you. One of the best ways you can influence your child’s eating habits is to have good ones yourself. Eating a variety of vegetables can be a family experience that everyone can enjoy.
How many vegetables does your child need?
Children who are two to eight years old should have at least ¼ cup of vegetables four to six times per day.
How many vegetables are in a cup?
Here are some examples of 1/4 cup portion of vegetables:
3 asparagus spears
1/3 ear of corn on the cob
1/2 a medium carrot or a 4 baby carrots
1/4 large sweet potato
1/4 medium white potato
1/2 cup raw leafy green vegetables
Turn off the stove and use your grill to give your vegetables fresh summer flavor. Grilled vegetables have a delicious flavor and are super easy to cook. Here are a few tips for veggie-grilling success:
Invest in a BBQ grill basket
You’ll find grill baskets in the BBQ accessory section at home goods stores for about $15-$20. A grill basket is specially designed for the BBQ. It will save time, make grilling vegetables foolproof, and eliminate the need for skewers so your veggies won’t fall through the cracks of the grill. Simply add your vegetables to the basket and grill away.
Choosing vegetables to grill
Asparagus to zucchini – nearly all vegetables taste delicious when they’re grilled. Here are a few of our favorites along with the recommended preperation for a grill basket:
- Asparagus: Prep – whole
- Corn on the cob: Prep – cut into 2-4 inch pieces
- Eggplant: Prep – sliced into ¼- ½ inch rounds
- Green Beans: Prep – whole
- Mushrooms, button, portabellas, and shitakes: Prep – whole
- Onions, Red of Vidalia: Prep – cut into wedges
- Potatoes: Prep – 1-2-inch chunks or small whole potatoes, parboiled for 10 minutes
- Red or Green Bell Peppers: Prep – sliced in 1 inch pieces
- Sweet Potatoes : Prep – sliced into ¼ – ½ inch circles
- Tomatoes: Prep – cut large ones in or chunks, leave grape or cherry tomatoes whole
- Zucchini: Prep – cut into ½ – 1 inch circles
Basic grilling instructions
In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Place the vegetables in a grill basket over a hot BBQ. To cook evenly and prevent charring, use BBQ tongs to move the vegetables around in the basket while they’re cooking. Most vegetables will cook in less than 10 minutes.
For the baby: Grilled vegetables can be pureed in a blender or food processor after they are taken off the grill.
Adding flavor and spices
Grilled vegetables are tasty served simply with olive oil, salt and pepper, but if you’d like to add an extra splash of flavor, toss in one of the following ingredient combinations with your grilled vegetables after cooking.
- Lime Juice, fresh chopped cilantro and sugar
- Lemon juice and fresh chopped dill
- Balsamic vinegar and fresh chopped basil
- Hoisin sauce and fresh chopped green onions
- Italian salad dressing (oil-based)
Combine approximately 1 tablespoon of each ingredient in a bowl. Drizzle over the grilled vegetables.
Grill basket by Crate and Barrel