Grilling for the Summer: Stage 1 Protein for the Win!

Many of our 20/20 LifeStyles clients often ask, “What do I grill for my friends and family?” In the program’s Modified Elimination Diet, Stage 1 focuses on eating lean and very lean protein options in addition to fresh berries and healthy fats. As they progress, individuals will add foods back into their diet based on each stage (see the stages below). Stage 1 is perfect for experimenting with healthy grilling recipes while following your meal plan!

Modified Elimination Diet Stages:

  1. Very Lean and Lean Protein
  2. Non-Starchy Vegetables
  3. High Protein Dairy
  4. Fruit
  5. Dairy
  6. Beans, Lentils, Legumes
  7. Whole Grains and Starchy Vegetables

What are Stage 1 Protein Options?

In the Modified Elimination Diet, protein options are broken into four different groups based on the amount of fat per ounce of protein. These four groups include very lean, lean, medium and high fat protein with very lean protein having the least and high fat protein having the most fat per ounce. The 20/20 Lifestyles Program focuses on choosing very lean and lean proteins to encourage a balanced diet that promotes satiety.

Protein SourceGrams Fat/1 Ounce Cooked Protein
Very Lean Protein1
Medium Fat5
High Fat9

Protein Options

Below is a list of great proteins to incorporate and stock up for the summer. Experiment with fun marinades and low-sugar sauces when selecting these foods.

Very Lean ProteinLean Protein
Poultry: Chicken or Turkey (white meat, no skin), Ground Chicken or Turkey (1-3% fat) Fish: Cod, Flounder, Haddock, Halibut, Tuna, Shellfish: Clams, Crab, Lobster, Scallops, Shrimp Beef: Ground Beef (4-5% fat) Game: Venison, Buffalo Eggs: Egg Whites Soy: Protein Powder, High Protein Tofu, TVPPoultry: Chicken or Turkey (dark meat, no skin or white meat with skin) Fish: Herring, Oyster, Salmon, Sardines Beef: Round, Sirloin or Flank Steak, Ground Beef (7-10% fat) Pork: Tenderloin, Center Loin, Rip Roast Soy: Tofu, Veggie Burgers

Tips for Healthy Grilling

  1. Choose a healthy marinade with less than 5 grams of added sugar per serving. If not in the mood to make your own, recommended brands include Kevin’s Natural Foods, Primal Kitchen, and G Hughes.
  2. Pair your protein with healthy sides. For example, if you are on stage 2, opt for a side of berries and non-starchy vegetables.
  3. Prevent cooking at super high temperatures. Grilling on high heat promotes blackening of the protein, which contain compounds linked to cancer. Keep the heat down and limit the amount of charring.
  4. Grill your sides. If the grill is already in use, grill your veggies and fruit to make excellent side dishes.
  5. Clean your grill before and after cooking. This prevents charred bits from making your meal bitter and eases clean-up in the future.

Written by: Corrin Kalinich, Registered Dietitian, 20/20 LifeStyles

Corrin is a Registered Dietitian who actively supports 20/20 Lifestyles clients and the public on their journeys to become healthier through nutrition. With expertise in weight management and metabolic disorders, she focuses on teaching clients how to eat mindfully, and create long-lasting change. She is guided by the belief that food is medicine and that healthy eating habits are much easier to manage when healthy food is accessible. She believes that a nutritious diet supports both the body and mind and strives to make healthy eating manageable for every client.

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