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For a more nutritious Memorial Day grill watermelon

  |   May 24, 2013 at 5:46 PM
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CHICAGO, May 24 (UPI) -- For a more nutritious Memorial Day barbecue add both color and nutrients by grilling watermelon, a U.S. nutritionist suggests.

Judy Caplan, a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokeswoman for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Chicago, said grilling a variety of fruits and vegetables such as watermelon adds nutrients and flavor to holiday cookouts.

"For a sweet treat, grill sliced watermelon for about 30 seconds on each side," Caplan said in a statement. "Some of the water will evaporate over the heat, which leaves an intensely flavored watermelon slice to savor and enjoy."

Another way to easily pack nutrients into a grill-centered meal is to skewer marinated vegetables such as red, yellow or orange bell peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, cherry tomatoes and onions into a tasty kabob. Brush the vegetables with olive oil and add favorite herbs and spices. Grill over medium heat; turning until marked and tender about 12-15 minutes and 8-10 minutes for cherry tomatoes and pre-boiled potatoes, Caplan said.

"Not only is produce good for your waistline, but water-rich fruit and vegetables will also help keep you hydrated on hot summer days," Caplan said.

Summer squash like zucchini can be stuffed, baked, steamed or grilled.

Grate squash as a replacement for angel hair pasta and top with tomato sauce; or pack grated squash into meatloaf, muffins or quick breads.

"Place zucchini halves cut length-wise on the grill and heat until soft about 15 minutes and when cooled, stuff with cooked quinoa or shredded chicken breast, flaked salmon or browned, lean turkey meat," Caplan suggested.

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