Grilled eggplant fits into just about any meal. Put it on top of a bed of salad greens, enjoy it as a hot side dish for a steak or add it to a chicken sandwich at lunch. Then, if you have any left over, toss it into your morning omelet the next day. This versatile veggie is naturally low in calories -- but if you add oil for grilling purposes -- your calories can add up quickly.
Carbs, Protein and Fat
All the calories in foods come from macronutrients: Carbohydrates, protein and fat. Cooked and diced eggplant provides a minimal 35 calories per cup, which is about 3 1/2 ounces by weight. Approximately 85 percent of the calories in eggplant, which is about 30 calories, are from carbohydrates. Less than 10 percent of the calories, or 3 calories, are from protein. The remaining 5 percent of calories -- 2 calories -- stem from fat.
You’ll get a hearty chunk of your daily fiber requisite from grilled eggplant. Each 1-cup serving you enjoy offers about 2.5 grams of fiber. You need 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. A typical, 2,000-calorie diet requires 28 grams of daily fiber. Having a 1-cup side of grilled eggplant gives you close to 10 percent of that amount.
Vitamins and Minerals
Eggplant provides just about every type of vitamin and mineral you can think of, although it doesn’t have especially high amounts of any one in particular. You’ll get some B vitamins to speed up your metabolism, vitamin K for normal blood clotting and vision-boosting vitamin A. Eggplant contains several antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc. They work by nixing disease-causing compounds called free radicals. Enjoying grilled eggplant helps keep your bones strong by offering a bit of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Your nutrient-filled dish even has phosphorus and a minimal amount of sodium. These minerals, known as electrolytes, conduct electricity for muscle movements and heart functions.
You’ll need to add some kind of fat to your sliced eggplant before grilling to prevent sticking. If you use oil, keep in mind that each tablespoon has nearly 125 calories. All those calories, however, do come from heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats if you’re using plant-based oils like soybean, canola or olive. As a lighter alternative, consider using nonstick spray. You’ll get a trace amount of fat and only a small amount of calories from each squirt.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- Harvard Medical School: Listing of Vitamins
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Eggplant, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, without Salt
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Oil, Vegetable, Natreon Canola, High Stability, Non Trans, High Oleic (70%)