(BPT) - Cheeseburgers, chicken thighs and hot dogs are common fare at summer barbeques, but what about guests who are looking to reduce their meat intake? In addition to traditional meat dishes, there are many ways to prepare meals on the grill that everyone can enjoy, including vegetarians.
'Eating more meatless meals is one way to complement a healthier lifestyle,' say Registered Dietitians Tammy Lakatos Shames and Lyssie Lakatos. 'By swapping out fatty meats for fresh, nutrient-rich foods, you can help nourish your body with vitamins and fiber, while consuming less saturated fat. We love grilling vegetables and fruits during the summer, as well as healthful proteins like Eggland's Best eggs, which contain 25 percent less saturated fat and stay fresher longer when compared to ordinary eggs.'
For consumers following the trend of vegetarianism, Registered Dietitians Tammy Lakatos Shames and Lyssie Lakatos, also known as The Nutrition Twins, recommend they take a closer look at their diets to ensure they are consuming foods rich in the essential nutrients commonly found in meat. Often, vegetarians are not eating enough foods rich in protein, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. According to the Diabetic Exchange List designed by the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association, one large Eggland's Best egg can be substituted for one medium-fat meat.
Here are a few tips from Tammy and Lyssie on alternatives to grilling meat:
Skipping the burger at the barbeque doesn't give you free reign over the chips and dip. The USDA recommends most men and women to have one and a half to two cups of fruit a day, so why not seize the opportunity to treat your guests to a grilled fruit kabob? Experiment with different fruits on the grill such as pineapples, peaches and strawberries, which are refreshing and a good source of fiber.
Many meatless options are low in saturated fat. However, some vegetarian-friendly foods, such as cheese, nuts and grains, can be high in calories. Make sure to pay attention to the portion sizes you eat and pick foods that will fill you up. If you need a visual, remember that one serving of dairy is equivalent to four pieces of cheese the size of playing dice.
Get creative when it comes to grilling protein. For a meatless meal low in calories and high in nutrients, Tammy and Lyssie recommend cracking an Eggland's Best egg into a vegetable, like an eggplant, and placing it on the grill. One large Eggland's Best egg contains just 60 calories (ordinary eggs contain 70 calories) and fulfills more than 10 percent of your recommended protein intake. Eggland's Best eggs also contain double the omega 3s and three times more vitamin B12 when compared to ordinary eggs, which are important nutrients many vegetarians are lacking.
Grilled Sunnyside-up Egg-plant
2 medium eggplants (slightly less than a pound, each)
4 Eggland's Best eggs
1/2 tablespoon olive oil (or six seconds of oil spray)
1 large jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed caraway seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 teaspoons paprika
3 1/2 cups tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup low-fat feta
2-1/2 tablespoons part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1. Preheat grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place aluminum foil on the grill. Spray with an even coat of oil spray.
3. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise. With a spoon, dig out the insides of the eggplant, leaving about half an inch of flesh on the skin.
4. Roughly chop the eggplant flesh you removed from shells.
5. In a large bowl, combine eggplant flesh, oil, tomatoes, shallot, garlic, spices, tomato paste, honey, feta, red wine vinegar and salt. Add the mixture back into the eggplant shells.
6. Place stuffed eggplants on foil and close grill top. Let cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the eggplant shell has begun to soften and edges become golden.
7. Remove from grill and create an indentation in the filling of each eggplant half. (Be sure to make it large enough that the egg will not slide out). Crack one egg into each indentation. Use a spatula to spread the egg whites out a bit.
8. Sprinkle with cheese.
9. Place back on the grill and close the cover. Let cook until the egg is cooked to your liking, usually at least 10 minutes.