Grills across the country will fire up this weekend for the unofficial start of summer. Memorial Day is the the most popular day for beef consumption in the U.S., followed by Fourth of July and Labor Day (according to Purdue). No real surprise there, but did you know it’s also one of the highest-calorie meats we grill?
We’re not telling anyone how they should eat this weekend. After all, Memorial Day is a celebration. We are making a few suggestions, though, for enjoying this food-focused weekend without having to beat the bloat come Tuesday morning.
Based on this calorie data, provided by Retrofit, a basic grilled chicken breast is the way to go! It’s got the fewest calories with the most protein, which means you’ll be full and satisfied longer and have the energy to water ski, hike, play volleyball, or ride your bike.
Chicken Breast Recipes
BBQ Chicken Tacos with Avocado Coleslaw
Ground turkey, while not pictured, would be the next lowest in calorie with 128 calories per four-ounce patty. Using a 93 percent lean turkey, you’ll also get 15.9 grams of protein. Ground turkey is an easy replacement to beef with only 7 grams of fat to its 17 grams.
Ground Turkey Recipes
Red, White, and Blueberry Turkey Burger Sliders
Center-cut, boneless porkchops are delicious crowd pleasers that are affordable, cook up quickly, and give you a lot of flavor. Not pictured on the graphic, a four-ounce chop has 183 calories and 25 grams of protein, just about as much as the chicken. This lean meat beats most of the others, especially burgers and processed sausages, for a healthy alternative.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Chili Apple Salsa
Beef isn’t to be snubbed, we just tend to like ours in moderation and in the lowest fat quantity possible (try a 93/7 lean cut). It’s got a lot of protein, and when dressed up on a wheat bun with loads of fresh veggies, it really is the epitome of summer tastes. Skip the cheese and add a scoop of guac for less fat and more nutrition.
Country Style Chili (for your hot dogs)
Beef Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries
As for shopping for hot dogs and sausages, be a savvy label reader. Most brands, including Oscar Meyer, have nitrates and nitrites which should be avoided. Most hot dogs and sausages, like brats, are full of fillers, preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors. As well, high fructose corn syrup (also noted as corn sugar) will be in a lot of these sausages, too. Applegate Farms makes a line of “cleaner weiners” you can feel good about serving.
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