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As the weather tends to warm up we start to think “grill season” but in reality… grilling can be (and should be) done all year long. It’s a quick and easy way to add tons of flavor to your foods with minimal effort and clean up. Additionally, we can all agree that the lack of lingering food smells in the home is a serious plus.

Grilling adds a new flavor profile to foods…flavors you wouldn’t normally get simply by searing on a hot pan indoors. It allows you to change up those mundane meal plans that you’re getting oh so sick of, and when you’re enjoying your meals you’re staying satisfied which is imperative when trying to lose weight. When grilling is done right you can add a light smokey element that you just wont find even with the store bought stuff (liquid smoke). Theres really no good substitution for those grill marks.

When you’re on your individual journey towards a healthier happier you, its important to keep your meal plan interesting to avoid boredom and falling off the wellness wagon. By including a variety of fresh, colorful food items and spices, and additionally in the way you cook your foods too – you can certainly keep your tastebuds guessing as to what delicious flavors will come next while staying on target towards your weight loss goals. 

Different cooking methods change up results and flavor making your everyday, common, healthy chicken breast (among other protein options) something you continually look forward to eating each week.

So if you haven’t fired up the grill just yet and haven’t gotten started on your health goals… let the grill list below (with nutrition info included) be your inspiration. Here are some great, healthy grilling proteins, veggies, and fruits that you need to grab and grill this week! 

 

Protein

Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies. Every cell in the human body contains proteins and our bodies constantly need more to repair old cells and make new ones. 

Proteins allow your body to grow, repair, and build. They are composed of both essential and non-essential amino acids. Non-essential amino acids can be made from scratch inside your body but essential amino acids can only come from your diet. Foods like meat, poultry, fish, cheese, and other animal by-products are best for getting these amino acids.

    • Chicken (per 4 oz)
      • 160 calories
      • 27 grams protein
      • 3.5 grams fat
      • 3 grams carbohydrates
      • 0 grams fiber
      • 1 gram sugar
    • Shrimp (per 4 oz)
      • 120 calories
      • 23 grams protein
      • 2 grams fat
      • 1 grams carbohydrates
      • 0 grams fiber
      • 0 gram sugar

 

HEALTHY RECIPE: Healthy, Grilled, Blackened Chicken

homemade grilled chipotle chicken breast

Servings: 2

  • Ingredients:
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
    • 1/8 tsp onion powder
    • 7 oz chicken breast halved
    • pink salt to taste
    • pepper to taste
    • (optional) garnish with lime juice and cilantro
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat the grill for 10 minutes or until it reaches 400 degrees
    2. Mix together the paprika, salt, cayenne, cumin, thyme, white pepper, and onion powder
    3. Coat the chicken breasts evenly with the spice mixture
    4. Place the chicken in the hot grill, and cook for 10 minutes, flipping halfway (5 minutes on each side)
    5. Once internal temperature reached 165 degrees, remove from grill
    6. Let cooked chicken breast rest for 5 minutes to redistribute juices

 

Carbohydrates

Our vegetables and fruits are made up of complex carbs (though this doesn’t necessarily mean they are “high-carb”for those of you watching your carbohydrate intake). However, carbohydrates are an essential macro in our diet. With 4 main functions in our bodies carbohydrates provide energy, store energy, build macromolecules (like proteins) and allow our body to use food proteins and fats for construction and repair instead of energy. (energy production)

Complex carbs take longer to digest and turn into energy. Most complex carbs are high in fiber and wont lead to rapid changes in blood sugar. (Carbohydrates)

Vegetables

  • Zucchini (per 4 oz)
    • 19 calories
    • 1 grams protein
    • 0 grams fat
    • 4 grams carbohydrates
    • 1 grams fiber
    • 3 gram sugar
  • Mushrooms (per 3.5 oz)
    • 25 calories
    • 3 grams protein
    • 0 grams fat
    • 4 grams carbohydrates
    • 1 grams fiber
    • 3 gram sugar
  • Eggplant (per 3.5 oz)
    • 25 calories
    • 1 grams protein
    • 0 grams fat
    • 6 grams carbohydrates
    • 3 grams fiber
    • 4 gram sugar
  • Peppers (per 3.5 oz)
    • 26 calories
    • 1 grams protein
    • 0 grams fat
    • 6 grams carbohydrates
    • 2 grams fiber
    • 4 gram sugar

 

HEALTHY RECIPE: Grilled Zucchini

grilled zucchinni on grill grilling

Servings: 4

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 medium zucchini, about 8 oz each, sliced 1/4 inch thick
    • 1 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin (optional, if not using oil be sure to lay down tin foil or use grilling basket to avoid sticking to grill grates)
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 tsp dried parsley
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat the grill on medium-high
    2. In a large bowl, toss zucchini with all ingredients
    3. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper, to taste
    4. If not using oil, be sure to put down tin foil and or grilling basket
    5. Place zucchini on the grill. Cover and cook, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking on high, covered, 2 to 3 minutes more
    6. When zucchini is tender, remove from heat, taste for salt and adjust as needed and eat right while hot

Fruits

  • Pineapple (per 3.5 oz)
    • 50 calories
    • 0 grams protein
    • 0 grams fat
    • 13 grams carbohydrates
    • 1 grams fiber
    • 10 gram sugar

 

HEALTHY RECIPE: Grilled Peaches with Frozen Vanilla Yogurt

delicious grilled peaches with ice cream served on white wooden table, flat lay

Servings: 4

  • Ingredients:
    • 4 medium peaches ripe yet firm
    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
    • ½ cup greek 0% fat plain yogurt
    • Vanilla cream liquid stevia
    • Mint leaves or cinnamon (optional for garnish)
  • Instructions:
    1. In a bowl combine the yogurt and liquid stevia. Add stevia to your preferred taste
    2. Mix yogurt and stevia well and divide into 4 dollops, place on parchment paper and lay flat in freezer for 30 minutes to cool/freeze
    3. Heat grill or grill pan on medium heat
    4. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit: With a sharp paring knife, slice each peach in half. Then twist each half in opposite directions to pull the halves apart. Use your fingers to remove the pit. If it’s stuck, carefully slide the knife under the pit and then pull it away
    5. Brush the peaches all over with the melted coconut oil
    6. Place the peaches, cut side down, on the grill. Grill until tender and slightly charred, about 4 minutes per side
    7. Once yogurt has hardened a bit in the freezer and while grilled peaches are still hot, top peaches off with vanilla frozen yogurt dollops
    8. Garnish with mint leaves or sprinkle with cinnamon
    9. Serve immediately. 

 

BONUS RECIPE: Grilled Lemon Limeade

lemonade in glasses and bottles made of grilled lemons. cider.

Servings: 4

  • Ingredients:
    • 4 lemons halved
    • 4 limes halved
    • 1/2 lemon sliced
    • 1/2 lime sliced
    • 2 cups water
    • Liquid Stevia, to taste
    • Ice cubes
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat grill to medium heat (optional: lightly oil to avoid sticking)
    2. Place lemon and lime halves cut-side down on grill and cook until browned, about 5 minutes
    3. Place lemon and lime slices on grill and cook for 60 seconds or so on each side
    4. Juice halved lemons and limes into a pitcher. Add liquid stevia and 2 cups water to the juice, 1/2 cup at a time, until the limeade achieves desired sweetness. Pour limeade into glasses filled with ice; garnish each glass with a grilled citrus slice

Healthy Grilling Tips For Great Results

  1. You can lightly season and even oil-down your veggies, proteins, & fruits before grilling (its not totally necessary though) to help develop the flavor once they start sizzling on the grill
  2. Use a veggie grilling basket or tin foil to keep the grill cleaner, to keep your food items from sticking, and to keep smaller foods from falling through the grates.
  3. Choose larger veggies & fruits or cuts of protein to avoid food falling through the grates (unless you are using a veggie basket, tin foil, or bamboo skewers to contain the smaller pieces). 
  4. When making kabobs make sure you soak wooden bamboo skewers before grilling (or they’ll definitely burn up on the hot grill!)
  5. Let your grill get nice and hot (maybe about 10 minutes) before putting food items on to add a nice sear and keep foods from sticking
  6. Clean off grill grates before grilling as this also helps to keep foods from sticking
  7. Get a digital food thermometer to cook your proteins to perfection – then you wont have to worry about over or under cooking
  8. Don’t OVERCOOK and/or char your foods (especially meats) 
    • They’ll taste bad and even become inedible
    • Cancer-causing carcinogens form when food items are cooked at high heats for too long
  9. Don’t UNDERCOOK your foods either (especially meats)
    • Undercooked food items can cause food-poisoning
  10. Leave it alone! A very common mistake grillers make is that they fuss with the food too much. Expert grillers say leave it and flip once or twice for best results (in most cases).
  11. Experiment with other food items to keep your meals exciting. Essentially, anything on the grill is great!

 

While most of us often think that Summer is the only season for grilling, remember you can incorporate this cooking method year round. Not only is it fairly quick and easy to achieve tasty results, but grilling tends to help us make healthier choices.  The added flavor from the grill adds new flavors you simply cannot achieve through searing, braising, broiling, boiling, etc. If you’re trying to lose weight, be sure to change up your routine by grilling up some of your favorite foods. What are you grilling this week? Find us on Instagram @weightlossdirect or Facebook and tag us when posting your grill recipe creations!

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