Basic Meals Made Better

You can eat the food you like and still eat right

BY PHILL FELTHAM

Many men dream of eating a greasy burger hamburger that won’t clog their arteries or leave extra junk in the trunk. But if you’re serious about fitness, you’ll leave the greasy goodness at McDonald’s and indulge in protein powder, chicken and vegetables. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring, and you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out. If you fill your head with a little bit of nutritional information, you can stay focused and fuel muscle gains without storing flab.

You won’t even have to do without. Maximum Fitness Magazine is here to say that you can give in to those moments of weakness; you just need to be pointed in a healthy direction. Maximum Fitness is here to do just that.

#1
THE LEAN AND MEAN BURGER
Ingredients
– 1 whole-grain hamburger bun
– (4 ounces) 95% lean ground beef
– 1 tablespoon salsa
– 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce
– 1 tablespoon catch up
Nutrition Information
Serving Size: 1
Calorie Count: 410
Fat: 11 grams
Saturated fat: 4 grams
Cholesterol: 86 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 46 grams
Protein: 37 grams
Fiber: 6 grams
Directions
What your friends may not realize about the classic hamburger is that while they’re eating that 600-calorie burger packed with more than 30 grams of fat, you’re eating the lean burger, which is only 11 grams. Keith Ayoob, a nutritionist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has some suggestions on what to put on that burger.“Start with the leanest ground beef you can find—at least 90 percent lean is a must,” he says. “Grab a big handful and mix in one tablespoon each of salsa, barbecue sauce and ketchup or two teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce. Mix well and pat the mixture into a burger shape.

Grill or broil until medium-well (160°F in the center). Serve the burger on a whole grain roll for improved fiber and dig in. If you’re using and an oblong roll, just pat the meat into a shape that fits the role before cooking.”Invite all your buddies over for a lean-and-mean-burger session. Now all you have to do is find a replacement for the beer—but that’s another story and it involves water.

BATTLE OF THE BURGERS
Food Calories Fat (G) Sat. Fat (G) Protein Fiber (G)
Big Mac

 

540 29 10 25 3
Whopper

 

670 39 11 28 3
MaxFit Burger

 

410 11 4 37 6
 

The MaxFit Pick
Your winner is the Whopper—but only if you want to gain weight. Just kidding. The Big Mac, along with the Whopper, are high in fat. No one will deny that these two burgers contain tons of protein, but it comes at the expense of your heart and waistline. The MaxFit burger provides protein while contributing to your health and bringing gains to your muscles, not your belly.

#2
CHICKEN-AND-VEGETABLE KABOBS
Ingredients
– 8 cherry tomatoes
– 1/2 green bell pepper
– 1 cup yellow squash chunks
– 1 (3.75 ounce) chicken breast
– 2 tablespoons orange juice
– 2 tablespoons soy sauce
Nutrition Information
Serving Size: two kabobs
Calorie Count: 264
Fat: 2.7 grams
Saturated fat: 0.6 grams
Cholesterol: 82 milligrams
Carbs: 22 grams
Proteins: 39 grams
Fiber: 4.6 grams
Directions
You’ve always eaten chicken—the bird is a no-brainer when it comes to eating right. These chicken-and-vegetable kabobs can turn fatness into fitness. Nutrition consultant from Dallas, Texas, Neva Cochran has found a way to make bland, boring vegetables into a meal that would make any man happy to follow mom’s advice.Cochran’s secret is to remove the skin from a 3.75-ounce chicken breast and cut it into one-inch chunks. “Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers, along with antioxidant-rich cherry tomatoes, green bell pepper slices and yellow squash chunks,” she says. “Marinate the kabobs in equal parts with orange juice and low-sodium soy sauce for 30 minutes. Grill for five minutes on each side or until the chicken is done. Serve with complex-carb-packed brown rice or a whole wheat roll to complete the meal.”

If time is a problem, pre-cook skinless chicken breasts and store them in the freezer. You can prepackage the chicken in little baggies, too, so you’ll have them ready for the next day.

Basic Tips
Try mixing it up by adding different vegetables and fruit—just remember to cut all the pieces into equal sizes. 
Cooking Tip
Buy a food thermometer to avoid food poisoning. The USDA recommends cooking chicken pieces to an internal temperature of 180°F for drumsticks, thighs and wings. Chicken breasts should reach an internal temperature of 170°F. A good food thermometer is worth the investment. 
CHICKEN NUTRITION RAP SHEET
A five-ounce raw, skinless chicken breast (about four ounces when cooked) provides:
67% of your recommended daily value of protein, which promotes growth and maintenance of all muscle tissues 72% of your recommended daily value of niacin, which helps convert food into energy in the body (the more energy you expend, the more niacin you need)
32% of your recommended daily value of vitamin B6, which is essential for building protein from amino acids, forming hemoglobin for red blood cells (that carry oxygen to all body cells) and converting glycogen (stored carbohydrates into muscle and liver) into glucose for energy 40% of your recommended daily value of selenium, which acts as an antioxidant and prevents injuries to cells and muscle weakness and discomfort
8% of your recommended daily value of magnesium, which is needed for muscle relaxation after contraction and as part of enzyme systems that convert food into energy in the body 7% of your recommended daily value of iron, which enables hemoglobin to carry oxygen to all body cells and is part of myoglobin, which stores oxygen in muscles
– Neva Cochran, RD
#3
STEAK AND MUSHROOMS
Ingredients
– 1 cup button mushrooms
– 1 tablespoon Brummel & Brown
– 1 (14 ounce) can low-sodium beef broth
– 2 tablespoons low-fat cream
– 4 ounce skirt steak
Nutrition Information
Serving Size: 1 (4 ounce) steak
Calorie Count: 343
Fat: 19 grams
Sat. Fat: 8 grams
Carbs: 6 grams
Protein: 37 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Directions
The protein count in steak is quite beneficial, especially for hitting the weights at the gym. Nibbling on packaged meats, however, will only provide enough protein for a rabbit. Kerri Sherk, a registered dietitian with The Fitness Firm in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, suggests having a grilled porterhouse or T-bone steak with sautéed mushrooms.“Sauté one cup of button mushrooms in a pan spritzed with nonstick cooking spray, like Pam,” she says. “Add low-sodium beef broth. After the broth reduces, add 2 tablespoons of low-fat cream. Grill the six-ounce porterhouse steak on high heat for two minutes per side, then reduce heat and continue to grill for about five minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steak. Cover the grilled porterhouse steak with sautéed mushrooms.”

Remember, a slab of dead cow on a plate may make you a man, but trying to prove your manliness on a nightly basis will eventually turn you into a larger, less attractive animal—you don’t want that. Also, don’t forget to remove the excess fat from your steak.

STEAK: KISS
Keep It Simple, Stupid
Though you may often associate steaks with professional chefs inexpensive fine dining, they really can be quite easy to make at home. Follow these few simple guidelines for a great-tasting, lemon-infused steak in no time.
1
Take a four-ounce fillet and squeeze half a lemon on both sides—the juice will add great flavor, and the acidity will help tenderize the meat during cooking.2
Lightly brush the steak with extra-virgin olive oil and add cracked pepper to both sides.

3
Cook on medium heat for approximately five minutes on each side.

4
After taking it off the grill, squeeze the other half of the lemon over the steak and add a bit more pepper as needed. Enjoy your quick and easy version of lemon pepper steak.  if you have some extra time, try your favourite marinade on a leaner cut, like flank steak.– Brian Zehetner, RD 
#4
HIGH-PROTEIN MEDLEY
Ingredients
– 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 2 ounces lean eye of beef round, thinly sliced
– 2 ounces chicken breast, thinly sliced
– 2 ounces turkey breast, thinly sliced
– 1 cup sliced raw sweet red pepper
– 1 cup sliced raw green pepper
– 1 cup chopped onion
– 1 cup sliced mushrooms
– 1/8 teaspoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce (gluten-free)
– 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
– 1/8 teaspoon chilli powder
– 1/4 tablespoon dried parsley
– 2 teaspoons red table wine
– 4 cups romaine lettuce
– 2 cups shredded raw red cabbage
Nutrition Information
Serving Size: 1
Calorie Count: 500
Fat: 15 grams
Sat. Fat: 1.5 grams
Cholesterol: 73 milligrams
Carbs: 48 grams
Proteins: 36 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Directions
No one can deny that garden and salads and Thai salad are very estrogen-based. Of course, we want salads that are loaded with protein, so bump it up with three different varieties of lean meats and you’re set. But how do you make this miracle protein salad? It’s as easy as taking a few cut veggies and sliced meats and throwing them into a bowl.Sabrina Principato, a nutritionist with F.O.O.D. Nutrition Consulting based in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, says that after measuring your portions, combine olive oil, thinly sliced meats, peppers, onions, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, chilli powder, parsley and red wine in a nonstick pan.

“Cook until all meats are browned and peppers and onions are tender,” she says. “Cover and simmer for five minutes until the mixture is hot, stirring occasionally to blend the flavors.”

This is where you increase the protein content of your garden salad ensemble. Dump the junk onto a large plate and spoon the meat and vegetable mixture on top of your salad. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

MEATY TIPS

Change it up
For a high-protein fish medley, just substitute the meat amounts (above) with a combination of fresh salmon, tuna and shrimp. Your calorie and nutrition values are equivalent.

Go ahead and make extra
Prepare two or three extra servings of the ingredients for future meals—cooked meat and fish will hold in the refrigerator for up to three days when properly stored in airtight containers.

No time to cook? No problem.
Sliced deli meat and canned fish items are available for convenience and can be substituted for raw meat and fish that require cooking time. They offer a high-protein alternative. Look for lean deli cuts, such as chicken, turkey breast and lean roast beef, and low-sodium canned salmon, fish and seafood substitutes. No cooking necessary, therefore eliminate the cooking instructions and add cool dressings, such as a combination of balsamic vinegar and olive oil or a blend made of omega-3 fat oils, such as Udo’s Choice or Oly’s, found in vitamin stores. Drizzle the dressing over meat, fish and garden salad. It hits the spot.

– Sabrina Principato, RD

Originally featured in Maximum Fitness #12, May/June 2008

The information in this article is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice or attention of any healthcare professional. Consult your physician before beginning or making changes to your diet, nutritional, supplement, or exercise program.

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