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5 Healthy BBQ Recipes For a Lean Summer

There is no better time than summer to go outside, get a healthy dose of sunshine, and fire up the grill. Whether it’s a large gathering or just a family affair, barbecuing can be a fantastic (and fantastically tasty) change of pace. But there's a problem!  The traditional barbecue fare tends to be lined with fat and dripping with grease, and eating right is a big part of staying healthy and active for the summer.

Well have no fear, here are some no hassle recipes to help you stay healthy without giving up the mouth-watering goodness that comes with summer barbeques.

 

Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of lemon juice + ¼ cup
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 ½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup lightly packed basil leaves
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 3 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs + 3 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts

Marinade:

  • Whisk ⅓ cup olive oil, 3 tbsp lemon juice, crushed fennel seeds, ¾ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper in a resealable plastic bag.
  • Add chicken and massage in the marinade.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 min. or up to one day turning occasionally.

Dressing:

  • Blend basil, garlic, lemon peel, ¼ cup lemon juice, ¾ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper in a blender until smooth.
  • Gradually blend in ⅓ cup olive oil and season to taste.
  • Remove chicken from bag and grill until cooked, flipping halfway through. Top with dressing and enjoy.

Bobby Deen’s Special Thick-Cut Garlic Pork Chops with Bourbon Glaze

Ingredients:

Pork Chop w/ Apricot White Wine Reduction Sauce

  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 garlic clove halved
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 ¾ -1 lb center cut bone-in pork chop

Glaze:

  • mix together the bourbon, brown sugar and dijon mustard and set aside

Directions:

  • rub pork chops with garlic, salt and pepper
  • brush with glaze
  • Grill until slightly charred and cooked through (approx. 10 min each side). Some pink will remain in the center.
  • Brush with glaze before serving.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

bacon wrapped asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 10 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 5 lean bacon strips, halved lengthwise (the more fat on the bacon, the less evenly everything will cook. The dripping grease will affect the flame level.)

Directions:

  • Place asparagus on a sheet of waxed paper; coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with pepper; turn to coat.
  • Wrap a bacon piece around each spear; secure ends with toothpicks.
  • Grill, uncovered, over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until bacon is crisp. Discard toothpicks.
Originally published as Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus in Quick Cooking March/April 2005, p24

Flame Licked Chili Flank Steak

Ingredients:

Grill marks

  • 2 tbsp red chili paste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tbsp cumin seed, crushed
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 lbs flank steak

Directions:

  • Mix red chili paste, oil, peppercorns, cumin seed and sea salt in small bowl.
  • Coat steak evenly on both sides with mixture.
  • Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.
  • Grill steak over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes per side or until done.
  • Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Cut steak across the grain into thin slices.
Recipe courtesy of Thai Kitchen.

Light and Lemony Grilled Lobster

Ingredients:
Grilled lobster tails and asparagus AGAIN.

  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp melted butter (or butter substitute)
  • 1 tbsp minced or crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 4 lobster tails

Sauce:
  • Whisk together all ingredients except butter.
  • Let sit 1 hour (or more).
  • Add butter and microwave 1 minute or until butter is melted. Whisk or stir to combine.

Lobster Tails:

  • Rinse tails in cool water.
  • With a large, sharp knife, “butterfly” the tails (cut the flesh down the middle, lengthwise, keeping the tail intact).
    • If needed, use kitchen shears to cut through the shell down the same line as your butterfly cut.
  • Baste generously, let sit 5-10 minutes.Lay tails, flesh side down, grill 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Flip over. Pour rest of baste on top and close grill lid.
  • Grill 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Kelly Anderson, Certified Chef & Culinary Consultant. 
Owner of lunchbunchbistro.com, a resource for fun, healthy recipes for families.

AttributionShare Alike

Red fruits

There are other foods you can grill,Share Alike some unexpected, for a healthy side or snack. Here are some ideas.

  • Avocado: Slice in half, remove pit, and grill for 2-3 min. to create a mini bowl for salsa, addition to a summer salad or just a great side.
  • Summer Squash: Slice in half the long way, clear out the seeds, brush on some olive oil mixed with fresh herbs and seasonings, and grill face down until grill marks appear.
  • Zucchini: Prepared and grilled in the same way as the summer squash.
  • Peaches: Slice in half, remove pit, and grill face down for 5-8 min. Top with a dab of yogurt or cinnamon for desert.
  • Apples: Remove core and slice into eighths and grill, flipping once, for 4-5 min.

AttributionHealth Conscious Tips:

  • Not healthy enough? Replace the olive or vegetable oil in your recipes with coconut oil. Coconut oil is considered a good saturated fat, and is a heart healthy replacement for other cooking oils or butters.
  • Keep your grill clean, all of that charred mess that builds up may add a certain flavor to your food, but it also contains carcinogens that are potentially harmful to your health. (Coconut oil is also a great way to clean your grill as well. Seriously, get some.)
  • Marinade your Meat. Meat marinades insure that the meat you are grilling retains its full protein power. The marinade acts as a slight barrier protecting the goods and sealing in that juicy flavor.
  • Consciously chose your ingredients. Instead of the ground beef stacked up in the freezer section, grab a lean brisket and use it for your burgers. The meat is leaner, and you know exactly what's in it unlike pre-packaged hamburger meat.

 

For more healthy recipes and fitness tips, come visit our Chicago Health and Wellness page.

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