It's a widespread misconception that grilling has to be all about brats, beef, and beer. Yes, it's easy to go the unhealthy route and choose to BBQ that red ribeye steak because, well... it tastes so dang good. Do this frequently during summer's grill season, however, and it'll catch up to your waistline, not to mention your training. Warnings aside, a little mindfulness goes a long way. Grilling isn't all bad. In fact, you use much less oil on the BBQ, as opposed to sautéing or roasting, so grilling can help lower your calorie intake. Whether you choose charcoal, wood smoked, or gas grill, you can't go wrong — if you take what you're grilling seriously. Here are our top four favorite healthy grilling ideas to maximize the tasty, char-broiled potential so you can BBQ away, guilt-free.
Healthy Grilling Ideas #1: Choose Lean Cuts of Meat
Swap beef and chicken wings, high in saturated fat and calories, for lean cuts such as bison
and chicken breast. Keep them tender with a simple marinade recipe using balsamic, lemon, garlic, salt, and pepper. Feel like your chicken breasts come out too dry? Don't give up and turn back to the beef. Simply use a meat mallet to flatten out the thick parts of the breast. Your chicken breast will likely have different thicknesses throughout, which take chunky parts forever to cook and make thin parts taste tough or rubbery. Avoid this by placing the chicken breast on a cutting board under a piece of plastic wrap. Pound it thoroughly until it has an even thickness all over. Marinade, and grill for consistently juicy cooked chicken.
Healthy Grilling Ideas #2: Grill In-Season Veggies
Grilling your veggies is a delicious (and super simple) way to enjoy peppers, zucchini, summer squash, and asparagus. Since these veggies are in season during summer, they cost less so you can eat more. Vegetables provide the phytonutrients
Spartans need to master workout and race recovery
. And while raw veggies are great, grilled veggies take on a whole new flavor. A good rule of thumb: make sure you dedicate half of your grill's surface to produce. That way you know you're getting a healthier meat-to-veg ratio. Cut veggies lengthwise, coat them lightly with olive or avocado oil, sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper, and position directly on the grill grates. Flip after a few minutes to grill each side, and relish how the heat brings out the flavor.
Healthy Grilling Ideas #3: Ditch the Buns
Let's face it: a bun is just a tool to get what you really
want into your mouth. That tasty chicken breast topped with avocado and delicious melted cheese will be just as good eaten with a fork instead of a bun. Buns can often contain 200 plus calories and provide very little whole food nutrition
. So save yourself the calorie setback, skip the unwanted (and unuseful) carbs and opt for a lettuce bun — or no bun at all. To create a lettuce bun, grab long leaves of romaine, wash, and cut off the white ends until you reach the green part of the stock. Then wrap your grilled meat inside with condiments, and voila. Don't want to take the extra step? A fork and knife work just as well!
Healthy Grilling Ideas #4: Swap S'mores for Naturally Sweet Treats
Just because you’re a Spartan doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy sweets. You just know that satisfying your sweet tooth with fruit (over-processed crap) strengthens your body with vitamins and minerals and tops the tank with fiber. So skip the calorie penalty
you'd encounter with traditional sweets and grab peaches, pineapples, mango, melon, or apples, and slice them in generous 1/2-inch to 1-inch rounds. Take a tiny
bit of oil and brush each side so the fruit doesn't stick, and add a dash of cinnamon on each side to make the flavors pop. Grilling fruit actually functions like a searing method: when the top layer hits flame, the natural sugars are concentrated and amplified. So if you haven’t tried grilled fruits
, get ready for a whole new dessert menu . . . Spartan style.
THE ULTIMATE NO FRILLS, SUPREMELY HEALTHY, SPARTAN-APPROVED BBQ GUIDE HAS ARRIVED.
Gods and goddesses of the grill (or frankly, anyone who owns tongs and some charcoal) we know that Ancient Greece did not have 12-burner stainless steel Webers and podcasts on the perfect Impossible Burger™, but we have dug deep into the Spartan nutrition archives and recruited a real racer and registered dietician to create the perfect grill guide for anyone who plans to step foot near flames and wants to be healthy. Forget the status quo burgers and BBQ sauce. As usual, Spartans are known for our innate ability to step. it. up. Our serious recipes elevate bison and salmon to the sublime and douse veggies in to-die-for sauces.
Ready to grill like a pro? Just click here.