Summer truly is the perfect time of year for healthy eating. While some may say that firing up the backyard grill opens the doors to overindulging on hamburgers, ribs, hot dogs, and other fatty foods, many turn to the BBQ when looking for a healthy alternative to cooking indoors. Grilling lean meats during summertime gatherings can help you lose weight and feel great. And, the grill can be used to help prepare appetizers, desserts, and healthy finger foods – not just the main course. The Medifast diet plan places great emphasis on including specific amounts of lean protein, so why not dust off the BBQ and add some serious flavor to your next summertime meal? The following is a collection of several simple summer recipes that deliver a high protein, low fat kick of flavor:
Cumin, Honey, and Mint Marinated Lamb Chops:
This simple recipe is high in protein and really delivers on the wow factor! Serve with a side of Tzatziki sauce and a simple tomato, cucumber, and red balsamic vinegar salad.
• 1 tsp. dry mustard
• 2 tsp. honey
• 2 tsp. ground cumin
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
• 1 tbl. balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 8 (4-ounce) lamb loin chops, about 1 inch thick, trimmed of visible fat
Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl and marinate the lamb loin chops for at least four hours – preferably overnight.
Cook over a medium-hot grill for about four minutes per side, or until desired doneness.
A 4 oz. serving of lamb with ¼ cup tzatziki sauce, 1.5 cups of tomato and cucumber salad with 2 tsp. of balsamic or red wine vinegar is a full protein serving, has 3 servings of vegetables and offers 3 optional condiments.
Spicy Grilled Flank Steak
Flank steak is lean and flavorful, but serves best when marinated overnight and sliced across the grain. This spicy summer classic is sure to kick up your backyard BBQ!
• 2 pounds flank steak, trimmed
• 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
• 1 tbs. grated lime rind
• 2 tsp. olive oil
• 2 jalapeño peppers, minced
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients except the ½ tsp. of salt in a gallon Ziploc bag. Marinate the steak overnight, then remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking. Discard the marinade and season the steak on both sides with the salt. Cook over a hot grill for three minutes per side or until desired doneness. Let rest for ten minutes, and then slice across the grain to ensure tenderness.
This recipe makes about 6 servings. 5 oz of steak with marinade is equal to 1 lean serving and 1 condiment. The olive oil is considered 1/3 serving of a healthy fat.
Grilled Salmon with Roasted Corn Relish
Salmon is protein-dense, rich with Omega-3s, and grills wonderfully. Pair with a roasted corn relish for a crunchy, spiced topping.
• Four Anaheim chilies
• 1 cup of diced tomatoes
• 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
• 6 tbs. fresh lime juice
• 1 tsp. salt, divided
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
• 1 tsp. ground cumin
• Four skinless salmon fillets – 6 oz. each
For the relish: Roast the chilies for five minutes per side on a hot grill, then let cool and slice into ¼” strips. Roast the corn on the grill over medium-high heat, then remove the kernels from the cob when cool. Combine with the Anaheim chilies in a mixing bowl and add the cilantro, lime juice, and tomatoes (with juice). Season with salt and pepper.
For the salmon: Combine ¼ tsp. of ground pepper, ½ tsp. of salt, and the cumin. Rub on the salmon and then place the salmon fillets in a grill rack that has been coated with cooking spray. Cook over medium high heat for four minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily.
If you’re currently on the Jump Start part of the program, you can substitute corn salsa for another favorite vegetable such as grilled asparagus or mushrooms. This recipe makes 6 servings. 5 oz of salmon with chilies and marinade is equal to 1 lean serving, 1/3 cup veggies and 1.5 condiments.
Backyard BBQs are the perfect venue for any of these light, protein-rich, and delicious creations. The Medifast diet plan emphasizes lean proteins, and the summertime is the perfect season to start experimenting with the bold flavors and unique food combinations. Don’t miss out on the fun of grilling in the sun – you can cook amazing foods on the BBQ, without any guilt!