Few things please the palate better than a juicy burger or steak coming off the grill. When it comes to barbecuing, red meat reigns as king. Unfortunately, it also wreaks havoc on your health with its artery clogging, saturated fat – fat that you busted your butt to shed at the gym. So the next time you fire up the grill, consider these healthy food options that not only taste great, but will also keep you lean and healthy throughout the year.
LOWER FAT MEATS
If cutting out meat just doesn’t cut it for you, consider at least substituting some leaner cuts when barbecuing, such as pork tenderloin, beef flank or sirloin steak. These cuts contain significantly less saturated fat than hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausage, while also offering more nutrients and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
With its warm bun and delicious fixings, bypassing the hamburger can be tough going at the family barbecue. A great way to maintain the joys of the burger-eating experience is to switch it up by substituting a turkey burger. Just be sure to use mostly lean, ground, white-meat turkey, or you risk losing those low-fat advantages.
Want to trim the fat further? A skinless chicken or turkey breast will give you the delicious, low-fat offering you crave. With just 3 grams of fat for a 3 oz. portion, these lean poultry products present a stellar substitute to their beefier cousins who come in at 15 grams of fat for every 3 oz. serving. Be mindful however, that these numbers won’t mean squat if you leave the skin on since that’s where the majority of poultry fat is found.
If it’s protein you’re concerned about, rest assured chicken and turkey are among the leanest ways to get it. As a matter of fact, a 3-ounce serving of lean chicken or turkey, without the skin, will provide about 27 grams of protein, compared to 23 grams of protein for a similar sized serving of beef.
Land dwellers aren’t your thing? Then fish is an excellent option for your summer barbecuing. Aside from its great taste and low-saturated fat content (5 grams in a 3 oz. serving), fish is a high-quality protein (22 grams on average for a 3 oz. serving) that offers all the essential amino acids your body is incapable of producing on its own. As an added bonus, certain types of fish like salmon, tuna and freshwater trout are rich with heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. And of course you can’t go wrong with the high-protein, low-fat, enormous-taste qualities of shrimp.
Corn on the cob is a given at most summer barbecues, but it doesn’t have to be your sole veggie selection. After all it’s summer – vegetables are in full swing. Zucchini, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms and a variety of colorful bell peppers are all low-fat, vitamin-rich foods that are very barbecue friendly. Grilled vegetables can often retain more vitamins than steamed ones. Whether skewered, foiled-wrapped or placed right on the grill, these healthy veggies will add some sizzle to your BBQ staples. And just like meat, they can be seasoned with your favorite spices to add to their flavor.
BY IAN COHEN