To get that lean, toned look and to feel great all day, we must be selective with the types of foods we select. You need foods that work hard for you. Foods that will help you burn fat, keep hunger away, support lean muscle growth, get your blood sugar balanced and reduce inflammation. There are many hardworking foods from which to choose, but the one that’s on the top of my live lean list is FISH.
FISH: The Fat-Loss Superstar
My love for fish has everything to do with the factors listed above, in addition to its beautifying effects on the skin and, of course, its super delicious flavor. Fish is a nutritional superstar that will help you to get and stay lean. It’s no wonder that physique athletes rely on fish as a main staple in their diets.
From my experience, people either love fish or hate it. Even if you love it, the mushy texture and the frightening fish slime can turn you off from time to time. Also, after you run through every Mrs. Dash flavor, baked or broiled fish can get a little old. If you are one of those people who hate it, it’s usually because you despise the “fishy” smell and taste as well as the texture. I get it. So what are you to do? Leave it out of your diet? Nope. The solution is as simple as a different preparation technique: GRILLING.
FISH MADE BETTER: The Delicate Science of Grilling Fish
GRILLING diminishes the fishiness, keeps the fish firm, minimizes the slime and creates a delicious flavor. However, grilling fish is not easy. In fact, it’s somewhat of a delicate science. However, after four years of trial and error and losing hundred of dollars worth of fish down the grill grates, I am thrilled to share my hubby’s and my technique.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We have learned that different types of fish require varied techniques. For the purposes of this article, we are focusing on three of the most popular fish: ORANGE ROUGHY, TILAPIA & SALMON.
GRILL IT: The Baird Technique
THAWING: If frozen, make sure the fish is fully thawed. It’s best to let the fish sit in the fridge overnight to thaw, and then perhaps let it sit out at room temperature to complete the process. Don’t let it sit out until it gets warm though— the fish needs to still be a tad cool. NOTE: Do not run the fish under water to defrost it before grilling. The fish will get soggy and fall apart on the grill.
QUICK RINSE, DRAIN & DRY: Quickly run the fish under water to remove any residue (optional) and then let it sit and drain in a strainer for about 5-10 minutes. Then, pat each piece dry with a paper towel or kitchen towel. Get the fish as dry as you can, and place it in a container to carry out to the grill.
CLEAN & HEAT YOUR GRILL: You need a hot grill to cook fish effectively, so make sure your grates are clean. Then, let your grill get hot. Turn it on a high heat setting with the top down, and let it warm up for about 10-15 minutes.
PLACING THE FISH ON THE GRILL: Lightly spray one side of the fish with a PAM grilling product and season the fish however you like. (We love garlic powder and Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Salt-free seasoning). Gently place the fish on the grill. For roughy, make sure you put the side of the fish that has a little color (the side that was closest to the skin) on the grill first. Cooking this firmer side first will help keep the fish from falling apart. Let the fish cook on the first side for about 4-6 minutes (time depends on the grill’s temperature and fish thickness). The indicators that the fish is ready to be flipped are: it begins to turn opaque and the sides of the fish begin to dry out and curl.
FLIPPING THE FISH: Lightly spray (PAM) the second side of the fish before you flip the fish over. Aim the spray just on the fish. Hold the grill spatula upside down, and gently separate the fish from the grates, if is has begun to stick. Once it’s free, turn the spatula right side up and flip the fish over. The second side of the fish should cook more quickly (approximately 3-5 minutes). Look for the sides to begin curling again to know when to remove it from the grill.
* ADDITIONAL TIP: You can cut a lemon in half and grill the lemon pieces along with the fish. Squeeze the lemon over the fish after it is done cooking. Place the grilled lemons in the container where you will store the fish to keep the fish smelling and tasting fresh.
REMOVE & COOL: When the fish is done cooking, detach it again from the grill and place it into a container to carry into the house. If you are not eating the fish right away, you’ll want the container to be large enough (e.g. cookie sheet) so that you are not stacking the fish. (Stacking delays cooling and traps fluid between the pieces.) The goal is to have each piece of fish cool completely and release any extra fluid before you place it into the fridge for storage. This cooling and fluid release step is key to minimizing the fish jelly that often shows up later. After the fish has cooled, place it into a container for storage and put in the fridge.
Push Toward Your Best
Ten years ago, I had a terrible diet. If it wasn’t processed, covered in something or between two pieces of bread, I was not into it. I never would have imagined I’d be living lean and eating clean. In the beginning of my lifestyle change seven years ago, I struggled. I would hold my breathe through meals. However, I refused to throw in the towel. I kept eating the “right” things and experimenting with spices and cooking techniques until I figured out a way that I liked it. Do you have to like it? Nope— but it certainly makes maintaining the lifestyle a whole lot more enjoyable. So, get creative, try out some new techniques and share them with others (that includes me!). I can’t wait to hear from you! Keep pushing–your best is waiting.