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Healthy Meats for Grilling: Going Beyond Burgers and Dogs!

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By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer at The Fit Father Project

healthy meats

Get creative with healthy meats for grilling during the warmer months ahead, to impress loved ones, and achieve better health for your family!

Choose healthy meats for grilling this summer season by thinking outside of burgers, hot dogs, and steaks for your cookouts.

Doing so can improve your health, impress dinner guests, and allow you to enjoy unique recipes you might not have thought about before!

Ready to get grilling?

Marinade Ingredients for Healthy Meats

Consider some of the following ingredients to make marinades for healthy meats for grilling, or use marinade ingredients you have around the house.

Examples of food items that often work well for meat marinades include:

  • Orange juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Soy sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Lime juice
  • Worchestershire sauce
  • Garlic or onions
  • Salt, pepper, and other favorite seasonings

Simply combine marinade ingredients of your choice, soak healthy meats in the marinade for at least 30 minutes, and grill meats to the desired doneness.

Store-bought, ready-made marinades work well too!

What Are Healthy Meats for Grilling?

Hot dogs, brats, and hamburgers might be some of the most common meats for grilling, but they're not the best choice when you want to optimize your health and keep chronic disease risks low.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies these and other highly processed meats as cancer-causing.

Instead, consider the following healthy meats for grilling this upcoming summer season:

Grilled Chicken Breast

Grilled chicken breasts are some of the leanest sources of high-quality protein you'll find.

Try the following simple, healthy, grilled chicken recipe during your next summer cookout with friends and family:

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grill grate.
  2. Dip the chicken in the lemon juice.
  3. Sprinkle it with onion powder, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  4. Let the chicken soak in the juice and seasonings for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  5. Discard the remaining juice.
  6. Cook the chicken on your grill for about 10-15 minutes on each side until it’s no longer pink in the middle and the juices run clear.

Servings: 4

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

  • Calories: 139
  • Protein: 27.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Total Fat: 1.5 grams

Serve grilled chicken with your favorite non-starchy vegetables plus whole-grain rice, sweet potatoes, or corn on the cob.

Or, top a leafy green vegetable salad with grilled chicken strips!

Grilled Shrimp

Like grilled chicken, grilled shrimp is loaded with protein and it's low in calories.

Eating shrimp is beneficial when you want to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

Try the following grilled shrimp recipe in place of burgers, brats, and hot dogs this summer season:

Ingredients for the Seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Ingredients for Grilling

  • 1 pound of jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Canola or vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat your grill to high heat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add lemon juice and olive oil, stirring the ingredients into a paste-like substance.
  4. Toss in the shrimp to coat with marinade.
  5. Thread shrimp on grilling skewers if you'd like.
  6. Brush canola oil on your grill grate and cook the shrimp until they're opaque and pink (about 2-3 minutes per side).
  7. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Nutrition Facts per Serving

  • Calories: 102
  • Protein: 28 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Total Fat: 3 grams

If you grill shrimp on skewers, thread your favorite veggies on the kabobs as well.

Consider zucchini, mushrooms, onions, or bell peppers.

Grilled Turkey Breast

Turkey is similar in nutrition content to grilled chicken, as it's loaded with lean protein and micronutrients.

Try the following marinated grilled turkey recipe during your next special summer event:

Ingredients

  • 2 3-pound boneless turkey breast halves
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (optional)

Ingredients

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the basil, pepper, and garlic.
  2. Rub the mixture over the turkey breasts.
  3. Place cloves in the center and on each end of the turkey breasts.
  4. Blend vegetable oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar (optional) in a large dish and add the turkey breasts. Coat them well with the marinade.
  5. Marinate the turkey in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
  6. Preheat your grill to high heat and lightly oil the grill grate.
  7. Place the turkey on your grill, close the lid, and cook the turkey breasts for about 15 minutes on each side. The internal temperature should be 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 12

Nutrition Facts per Serving

  • Calories: 317
  • Protein: 60 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2 grams
  • Total Fat: 6 grams

Serve grilled turkey breast with your favorite summer salad, peas, roasted potatoes, or grilled vegetables of your choice.

Grilled Salmon

Choose salmon over burgers, hot dogs, and other highly processed meats whenever possible as salmon is loaded with high-quality protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Choose this savory grilled salmon recipe during your next summer cookout:

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