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Planning to grill? Try a healthy, Mediterranean-style meal

“I tell people to look for protein, color and fiber and this meal meets all three.”

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Grab the grill, but hold the grease! Licensed dietician and nutritionist Wendy Wesley grabs some chicken and veggies to make a Mediterranean-style mixed grill. 

“I tell people to look for protein, color and fiber and this meal meets all three of that criteria,” she says.

For decades, the Mediterranean diet has been heralded as a good option for a heart-healthy eating plan. According to the Mayo Clinic, the diet can even help prevent heart disease and stroke. 

Plant-based foods — including whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices — build the diet's foundation. Olive oil is usually used as the main source of added fat. Seafood, fish, poultry and dairy are added in moderation. 

Grilling can provide a flavorful addition to the food you're preparing, without adding any unnecessary fat. 

Wesley suggests peppers, onions and sweet potatoes for your next meal on the grill, “where we find color, we find antioxidants.” 

She says to add in lean meats like fish and chicken and a side of whole grain pita. 

“Fiber will lower cholesterol, it will help you stay full so you’re not going around peckish, looking to snack on sugary and floury things.” 

She says to cut the veggies thick, so they grill nicely.

Wesley suggests you marinate the items overnight or the morning of, for about 8 to 12 hours. “This is my homemade vinaigrette. It’s olive oil. It’s vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic, that’s it!” 

She suggests a side of tzatziki to go with the items.

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