Healthy Proteins for the Grill

5. Pork Loin 

Bet you never thought we’d say this one, right? Pork is notorious for being unhealthy, mostly because it’s used to make processed meats, such as bacon and breakfast sausage. However, leans proteins like pork tenderloins and pork chops are actually some of the healthier cuts of meat.

A serving of pork tenderloin has under 150 calories. For a 3.5 ounce serving, it also contains only 3.5 grams of fat, but around 25 grams of protein, making it an easy and healthy way to get your protein intake. Similar to other lean meats, pork loin contains many B vitamins, as well as selenium and zinc.

Grilling a nice piece of pork loin will save you on fat and calories. We recommend preparing it with a fruit marinade, either peaches or citrus fruits. Just make sure you always practice proper grilling safety steps to make sure your food is safe to eat!

4. Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Ok, yes, we’re getting very specific with this one. Many of us have different dietary needs – lactose intolerance, vegetarian, etc. – however, one thing that we all have in common is that we need to get our fiber, our protein, and our veggie intake. Luckily, this “burger” has all 3!

Black bean veggie burgers, especially when homemade, is a superfood, full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. One of these burgers usually contains around 198 calories, 3 grams of fat, and around 11 grams of protein.

Black beans were named one of the healthiest beans and legumes in 2017. Each serving contains 15 grams of fiber, and they are a great source of folate, manganese, and iron. Black beans have also been shown to help regulate blood sugar, improve digestion by acting as a prebiotic, and even help fight weight loss and chronic diseases because of their high fiber content.

Now, we are not saying to replace all red meat with vegetable substitutes in your diet. However, if you’re looking for something new to shake things up, black bean veggie burgers are a tasty and healthy option. And here is one of our favorite recipes.

3. Lean Beef

Coincidentally, our next healthiest protein to grill is lean beef. Like we said above, we do not recommend replacing all red meat with non-meat substitutes, simply because red meat contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional components that cannot be found naturally in alternative proteins.

Lean beef can come in a variety of options, including sirloin and tenderloin steaks, flank steak, and the leaner brisket, and, of course, burgers. 95% lean ground beef is the healthiest option when it comes to burgers. A 3.5 ounce patty has around 170 calories, 6.5 grams of fat, and 26 grams of protein. Beef burgers are also a natural source of iron, vitamin B12, and zinc.

Americans have been said to eat too much red meat, however, substituting non-meat foods may not be the healthiest solution. One reason is because foods like Beyond and Impossible burgers have A LOT of added ingredients to make it taste and have the consistency of real meat. These ingredients include potato protein, soy protein concentrate, and pea protein isolate.

However, beef doesn’t just have to be consumed as burgers. Steaks on the grill are delicious, and you can also use steaks in foods like kabobs. This will ensure you’re also getting your veggie intake! It’s good to note that when it comes to beef, both grain-fed and grass-fed will deliver the same nutrients to your body. And here’s a trick for you to remember: to tell if your beef is lean, just look for the words “loin” and “round” on the label.

2. Chicken

You knew it was coming. White-meat chicken is one of the leanest meats you can eat, and on the grill, it just gets even better.

Chicken is known for being a great source of lean protein. Just 3 ounces of chicken contains anywhere from 17-24 grams of protein with only about 3.5 grams of fat – just make sure you’re eating skinless chicken. Chicken with the skin still on is around 40 more calories than skinless and has 8 grams of fat.

Chicken also has many vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins. One B vitamin – choline – accelerates the body’s creation of acetylcholine, which is important for brain cell functioning. Eating chicken can also help with memory, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system functions.

But chicken doesn’t have to be plain and boring on the grill! You can mix it up any way you want. One of our favorite ways is an Endicott, NY classic called Chicken Spiedies, which are small marinated chicken pieces that you eat on a slice of bread (usually Italian). See more about them here.

1. Fish

Fish is not only great cooked on the grill, but it’s also extremely good for us! Whether it’s a white fish like tilapia and cod, or salmon, you’ll know you’re getting a ton of vitamins and minerals from these foods.

Similarly to chicken, 3 ounces of fish has around 20-25 grams of protein. However, they differ in their fat contents. White fish has a lower fat content, whereas fish like salmon is full of healthy, omega-3 fatty acids, which are super important for our bodies.

We need omega-3s to decrease inflammation and increase blood circulation. And, since 60% of the brain is fat, we need omega-3s to help build brain and nerve cells.

Greek Turkey Meatballs

Looking for something YUM for dinner, a side dish to elevate your entrée, or healthfully satisfy your sweet tooth? Check out our list of tried and true recipes  – you won’t be disappointed!

Want some free D2D stuff? Post a photo of your creation on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

Pair this recipe with a glass of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.

Inspired by Let’s Dish Recipes.