Safe & Tasty Lean Body Grillin’

Safe & Tasty Lean Body Grillin’
By Johnathan Zamora

The grills are fired up and ready to go!  Summer is synonymous with beach fun and backyard barbecues, given the recent “bad rap” that grilling has gotten over the past year, I will explain how to cook your grilled foods safely and with tons of flavor!

You may recall the studies citing heterocyclic amines or HCA’s and nitrosamines n recent news stories.  These compounds have been identified as being carcinogenic and are activated when cooking foods with high heat.  While there is evidence showing these compounds can be hazardous to your health, new research explains that safe grilling methods can make all the difference.

I have provided five “safe-grilling” recipes that will have your mouth watering and will minimize those nasty HCA’s.

First, the new rules for safe grilling:

– Your grill MUST be clean
Having a spotless cooking surface before you begin grilling eliminates the charred bits of food from previous BBQ’s and helps to create an ideal cooking environment.

– Do NOT char food.
Charring or blackening food will active the harmful compounds that you are trying to avoid.  Your best bet is to pre heat the grill to medium low heat – as lower heat is less likely to activate HCA’s

– When grilling food directly, (food that comes into contact with grill grates) use a medium low heat.
Using a lower heat will help add to your HCA and nitrosamine protection.  High heat cooking has been shown to turn oils and fats into active carcinogenic compounds.  It is also advised to use low-fat meats and cut all visible fat from any meats you choose to grill.

– Use foil for indirect grilling.
Utilizing foil packets to add that grilled flavor to foods is a great way to have your food tasting its best.

– Whatever you grill, round out the menu with plenty of seasonal fruits and veggies. Watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes and salad greens all say summer!  This is also a great way to increase your barbecue “fit factor”.

A few years ago, a study published in the Letters of Applied Microbiology authored by Jean-Pierre Grill noted that Bifidobacteria, a common bacteria strain found in fermented dairy products can help to counter the carcinogenic effect of nitrosamines.  You’ll notice the dessert recipe found below includes yogurt – the better to help fight off these harmful compounds.

Now for the Recipes –

Turkey Tikka Kabobs
Serves: 4

1 lb.  Turkey breast, cut into large chunks
8 ea. wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
6 oz. Greek yogurt; plain & non-fat
½ cup Indian tikka paste
2 ea. Purple onions, sliced into large pieces
1 pint Grape tomatoes, washed
2 tsp.  Cinnamon, optional

Method of Preparation:

1.  In a Tupperware container, combine Greek yogurt and tikka paste & mix well.  Add turkey pieces and ensure they are well coated with the marinade.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Next, thread a piece of turkey onto the skewer, followed by the onion and tomato.
3. Grill on the rack of an uncovered grill preheated to medium low heat for 10 – 15 minutes, turning several times until cooked through and browned on each side.
4. Garnish cooked kabobs with a dash of cinnamon, if desired and serve hot.

Grilled Mediterranean Veggies

Serves: 6


1 medium Eggplant, cut into ½ -inch rounds
1 medium Yellow Zucchini, cut into ½-inch rounds
1 medium Green Zucchini, cut into ½-inch rounds
6 ea.  Portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean
1 ea.  Orange bell pepper, halved and cut into quarters
2 tsp.   Olive oil
Paprika, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Method of Preparation:

1. Brush prepared vegetables with olive oil.
2. Grill over the rack of an uncovered grill preheated to medium low heat for 10-15  minutes, turning several times, until cooked through and slightly browned on each side.
3. Toss with paprika, salt & pepper and serve immediately.

Diablo Bison Burger
Yield: 6 burgers


1 ½ lbs. 90 % Lean ground buffalo, grass-fed
1 ea. Purple onion, diced and sautéed in 1 tsp. oil
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
¼ cup Hot Sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Beefsteak tomatoes, sliced thick
Fresh Spinach with stems removed
Ground pepper
4 Whole wheat rolls, optional

Method of Preparation:

1. Combine buffalo, and next five ingredients plus pepper to taste in a large bowl.  Mix well and form into six thick patties.
2. Grill on the upper rack of a covered grill over medium heat for 20-25 minutes, turning the patties once halfway through grilling.
3. Serve on toasted wheat rolls with tomato slices and lettuce.

Citrus Marinated Grilled Salmon with Fresh Rosemary

Yield: 4 Servings

4 ea. 6 oz. Salmon fillets
Olive oil
Kosher Salt
2 Tbs. Coarse grain mustard
3 ea.  Shallots, thinly sliced
1/3 c  100% Orange juice
1/3 c  100% Pineapple juice
3  sprigs fresh rosemary
Aluminum foil

Method of Preparation:

1.  Rinse the salmon and pat dry with paper towels.  Rub the fillets with oil and apply the mustard, salt and pepper.  Place fillets and on a large rectangle of heavy-duty foil, folding the edges as to form a “boat”.
*You may want to “double-up” on the foil to help prevent tearing after cooking.  *

2. Place the shallots over the fillets and pour on the orange and pineapple juice.  Top with rosemary sprigs.  Seal foil edges tightly into a packet to help keep the juices in.

3. Grill indirectly over medium heat on a rack of a covered, preheated grill for 20 minutes or until fish is cooked through and can be easily flaked with a fork.

Summer Grilled Fruit with high protein Vanilla Custard

Yield: 8 Servings

1 ea.  medium Pineapple, peeled, and cut crosswise into thick rounds
4 ea.  Nectarines, halved, pitted and each half cut lengthwise
2 ea. Peaches, halved, pitted and each half cut lengthwise
3 cups   Cherries, pitted (for garnish)
¼ tsp.    Cinnamon
Walnut oil
1 ea.  small box fat-free, sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
½ cup  Greek yogurt
4 scoops Lean Pro 8, (vanilla or strawberry work well)
2 cups  Skim milk

Method of Preparation:

1. Rub fruit pieces with oil and sprinkle on the cinnamon.  Grill on an uncovered grill set to medium low heat, cooking 5-10 minutes per side or until browned but firm.  Place on a clean cutting board to cool.

For Custard:
1. In a large glass bowl combine the first four ingredients.  Using the whisk attachment of your immersion stick blender, whisk until smooth and no visible lumps of powder can be seen.  You can hand whisk also, but it will take a few minutes longer.  Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all the powder has been blended together.

2. Place plastic wrap securely over the bowl and put the custard in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  It is important to make sure the custard is very cold – place in the back of the refrigerator, as this is usually the coldest place.  (Even though instant pudding was used in the recipe, adding protein powder and cream cheese extends the time needed for the custard mixture to solidify and emphasizes the need to be kept very cold.  If the custard gets too warm, it will melt.)
3. Layer fruit and custard in a chilled glass.  Serve immediately.

Johnathan Zamora
The Fit Chef

Sign Up To The Lean Body Coaching Club!

Visit our YouTube Page at:

Click LIKE on our Facebook Fan Page at:!/LabradaNutrition

One Response for Safe & Tasty Lean Body Grillin’

  1. johnathan zamora


    June 18, 2011 12:12 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed the veggies Susan! Thank you for the nice comment and enjoy this menu, it’s one of my favorites!