Spicing Up Your Lackluster Lean Protein
Recently I was invited to speak at a health conference. Joining me were two extremely inspirational speakers who had literally lost 50% of their body mass through diet and exercise. As each put it, they were now “half the man” they used to be!
Both gentleman participated in a session that culminated with audience questions. As the men had described eating primarily fish and chicken breast meat for dinner each evening, the question was posed as to how they didn’t get bored eating the same thing over and over. More specifically, the conference attendee wanted to know if they have any suggestions as to how to add a variety of flavor to those two proteins to prevent “culinary monotony”. Neither man had an answer. These two gentlemen had simply come to accept the sameness of their meals—thrilled with the outcome they produced.
Well, I wanted to shoot up my hand and answer that man’s question, because I wholeheartedly felt his frustration. I, too, would get easily bored if my meals were to have a “sameness” quality to them.
So here are three, lean proteins that I often prepare for dinner, with three, “spiced up” options which enable each main course protein to take on a totally different “personality”—all while still keeping it’s lean quality intact.
Boneless Chicken Breast (whole or thin-sliced cutlets)
- Italian Style: Top with a brush of pesto and roasted red peppers, bake until done.
- Mexican Style: Rub with chili/cumin/garlic powders and salt, grill and top with warmed salsa and avocado slices.
- Greek Style: stuff (cut a “pocket” or roll up, secure with a toothpick) with fresh chopped spinach mixed with olive oil and some feta cheese—one of the lowest in saturated fats, bake until done.
Fish (Changing up the variety changes both flavor and texture; always buy wild caught.)
- Swordfish: marinate in olive oil, orange juice, orange zest, fresh chopped parsley, S&P.
- Salmon: grill on a soaked cedar plank (available at Costco or other grill-selling stores), then drizzle with a mixture of plain, Greek yogurt, horseradish, lemon juice, olive oil, S&P.
- Flounder, halibut, cod, red snapper, etc.: Bake topped with a marinade of white wine, olive oil, lemon zest, a bit of fresh minced garlic, S&P.
- Buffalo turkey burger: simply add a splash or two of Buffalo wing sauce to taste.
- Grilled turkey meatballs: mix in one egg, ½ cup of seasoned, whole-wheat breadcrumbs and a ¼ cup of grated Romano cheese, form into patties and grill.
- Turkey taco meat: prepare with a package of your preferred taco seasoning. Use it to top a salad, ladle it on top of diced, firm-cooked sweet potatoes, or serve in half of a cooked acorn squash.