How to Get Healthier with Your Grill (You Just Need Two Things)

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

Summer is not my best season. I burn easily, I’m always too hot, and chlorine makes my hair green. That being said, it’s the time of the year I feel the most healthy: the produce is fresh, I find myself eating more fish, and I do most of my cooking outside on the grill.

Grilled food is, hands down, my favorite way to eat. Because of the smoky or charred quality you get when grilling, you really only need the bare minimum of ingredients to make your food shine. When I’m grilling — which is every day in the summer — all I ever use is olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon, and fresh herbs.

But I’m the first one to admit that grilling fish (either whole or fillets) and vegetables feels like an intimidating task. It requires a little bit more attention than, say, slapping a hunk of beef on the grate and walking away.

For years, I was using a large, wide fish spatula or pair of tongs to flip everything over, and without fail, I’d always leave chunks of fish behind or lose a few asparagus spears to the fiery depths below. And then there was the frantic race of trying to flip all the zucchini over quick enough before one half of the batch overcooked. I was a mess.

Until a friend showed me the way, that is.

This friend is a welder and a chef, and he builds his own grills. A few years ago, I was helping him out with a catering event, and saw that he used grilling baskets to cook large amounts of fish and different kinds of vegetables. Eureka! Of course, I had seen these sorts of things before (I’ve been to stores, you know!) — I just never really thought of them as anything but frivolous.

Turns out they are extremely essential, and there are two types of baskets I now swear by: one that looks like a bowl with holes in it (for bulkier vegetables like peppers and potatoes), and one that clamps down with a handle (for fish, skinny vegetables, shrimp, etc.).

The baskets allow me to toss and flip food without worry, and they make it so much easier to cook everything evenly. They’re total game-changers and really help me eat better all summer long.

The Two Grilling Baskets I Swear By

I’d much rather go to town on a freshly grilled piece of cod than a burger or a hot dog, and these baskets make it easy to do so. Now that I’m so much more confident grilling fresh fish and vegetables, I basically end up on the Mediterranean diet each summer without even trying.

What about you? Do you have grilling accessories that help you eat healthier?

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