EAT RIGHT, LIVE BETTER...by LISA: Grilling all autumn long with local produce

Thanks to what seems like the hottest summer ever…

It seems everyone is looking forward to this cooler weather and the bounty of produce that will be harvested in Ontario this fall. The grocery store is filling with a variety of beautifully fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables. Walking through each aisle of the produce department, it’s so exciting to see local fare including many varieties of apples and pears, bright purple beets, huge heads of cauliflower, sweet corn, many colors of peppers and so much more.

Fall variety
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is essential to an overall healthy lifestyle, as these foods provide the body with the nutrients necessary for optimal health. All fruits and vegetables are a source of fibre, vitamins and minerals, and contain antioxidants.

Bountiful harvest time
During this transition in weather, why not enjoy the bounty of the season while preserving any ounce of warm weather there is left. Throw all this produce on the backyard grill to bring out the flavor with the char and caramelization of a flame. Slice cauliflower lengthwise into ‘steaks’, slice peppers into quarters, and remove the husks from corn. Simply drizzle or brush vegetables with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and your favorite herbs and spices. Place directly on the grill or on skewers. Cook, turning every few minutes until charred on all sides. The grilling possibilities also extend to fruits. Sprinkle apple or pear wedges with cinnamon and place directly on the grill. There really is no vegetable or fruit that cannot be grilled, get creative!

Grilling ideas
Grilling can help with batch cooking for packed lunches and dinners on busy weeknights. Add leftover grilled cauliflower florets to fresh greens and sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette for a side salad with dinner. Prepare an extra few cobs of corn, a pepper and some chicken breasts on the grill with supper to use in the Chicken Confetti Salad below. Stir in some quinoa or couscous prepared the night before and this is a complete meal that can be eaten cold right out of the lunchbox.

Salad sides
The whole meal doesn’t need to be prepared on the grill if there is not enough room for everything. Throw some bean burgers or pork chops on the grill and prepare an apple slaw in the meantime. Extra proteins can be re-vamped the next day for a tossed salad or warm skillet. My favourite apple varieties for a fresh slaw is a Gala or Pazazz, as they are crunchy and so sweet. Purple cabbage adds a bite, beautiful pop of color and is rich in antioxidants.

Local means a lot at Loblaws
At Loblaws, when you see ‘Local’ on the shelf tag, which means the produce was grown within 150 kilometers of your local store.  The short transportation time required to ship within this geographical region means that the produce is fresh and excellent quality when it reaches your fridge (and the grill) at home.

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