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The Power of Protein

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Nutrition, Recipes | Posted on 10-11-2016

Family-Grilling-FallFall weather means being outdoors with your family and friends, playing in the yard, and often grilling burgers, brats and hot dogs. How often do you add variety to your grilling? Do you consider the nutrition content?

Foods in the meat, poultry and fish group provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. Proteins function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. They are also building blocks for enzymes, hormones and vitamins. However, according to the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.org, choosing foods from this group that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol may have health implications. Diets high in saturated fat raise “bad” cholesterol levels, or LDL, which results in an increased risk for coronary heart disease. The calorie content of fat is higher than that of proteins or carbohydrates, therefore high-fat diets lead to excess calorie intake as well.

You’re already choosing a healthy cooking method by grilling your meat instead of frying or cooking with high-fat items like butter and cheese, but here are a few tips for a healthier fall cookout:

• Choose lean meats, including 90-percent lean or greater ground beef, chicken without the skin, flank or sirloin steak, pork tenderloin or fish.
• Boost flavor with low sodium spices and rubs or pepper for an added kick.
• Monitor meat portions. In general, one ounce of meat, poultry, or fish are considered a 1-ounce equivalent from the protein food group. Men ages 31 to 50 are recommended to receive 6 ounces per day and 5 ounces per day for women of the same age range.

Now go enjoy your grill, just remember to choose lean meats to fight against those nasty autumn colds and keep your heart healthy at the same time.

Grilled Honey Garlic Chicken Skewers
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons honey
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt, optional
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)

Directions
1. In a small bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, honey, thyme, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt if desired. Reserve half of the marinade for basting; cover.
2. Cut chicken into 1-inch wide strips; weave onto skewers. Place in an 11” x 7” glass baking dish. Pour marinade over chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours.
3. Drain and discard marinade. Grill kabobs, uncovered, over medium heat for five to seven minutes on each side or until chicken juices run clear. Brush frequently with reserved marinade.

Nutritional Facts
1 each: 272 calories, 17 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 73 mg cholesterol, 65 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrate (0 g sugars, 0 g fiber), 27 g protein

Bailey-Emily Emily Bailey, RD, LDN, has worked as a registered dietitian at Memorial since 2007. She earned her bachelor of science from Illinois State University and completed her dietetic internship at Indiana University School of Medicine. Her areas of expertise include surgical critical care, burn, trauma, maternity, pediatrics and feeding tube insertion.
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