5 Power Proteins You Should Slap on the Braai Tonight

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Nutrition

Firing up the braai is part of what it means to be South African. Unfortunately, this rite of passage often translates into a plate full of calories (and not much else). No fear, MH is here to arm you with a new menu of power proteins that are low on kilojoules and high on that muscle-building stuff gym rats and trail fanatics crave in equal amounts. 

Why the Braai (And Not the Stove)?

First off, you’re loading up less on fat as excess amounts will drip off into the coals below. Additionally, some research has shown that meat cooked over an open flame is more likely to retain thiamine and riboflavin, two important nutrients that your body’s cells need to stay at peak performance. Finally, that perfect alchemy of flame and food produces otherworldly flavour that’s hard to replicate on your stovetop or on a baking tray. 

1. Pork Tenderloin

Pork chops are a braai staple, but these delicious cuts are lined with too much fat (and not much else). No worries—you don’t have to ditch swine for chicken breasts just yet. Tenderloin fares well on the braai, too. 

READ MORE: Cook up the Best Mielies Ever (On the Braai) With This Simple Recipe

With right prep and in similar servings you’ll nix not just fat (tenderloin packs around 75% less) but also chow through fewer calories. Bonus: this fabled cut is stacked with protein with a 120g portion netting you 22g of this fabled macro. 

And you’ll want to keep pigging out because pork is a great source of Vitamins B6 and B12, both essential to brain function and blood cell formation.

2. Tenderloin Steak

steak on the braai
Trim the fat and enjoy the best of what red meat has to offer.

Lean cuts of steak still have a place on your braai, just eat them in moderation. This carving is rich in iron, zinc and—yes, don’t worry about those gym ambitions—protein. Studies have shown that if your diet is low in saturated fats, lean red meat won’t increase your risk of developing cardiovascular issues. 

3. Chicken Kebabs

Skinless chicken is one of the most efficient ways to snag protein, and a kebab on the braai will max out flavor, help you hit your 5-a-day, and give you access to important vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium, and zinc. 

4. Salmon

Grilled fish is the perfect alternative to a traditional ground beef burger, and you won’t have to worry about the dark side of red meat. Go for salmon as this succulent fish packs plenty of omega-3 fatty acids which have been linked to several health benefits including ramping up your brain function, staving off heart disease, and even lowering your risks of depression. Ready to fire up? We like these from Woolworths.

READ MORE: 7 Tips That Will Take Your Braai to the Next Level This Heritage Day

5. Shrimp

steak and shrimp on the braai
Shrimp are destined for the braai (and then your stomach).

A study in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension found that these sea creatures were a powerhouse when it comes to folate and vitamins A, B, and E. The former is vital to the formation of red blood cells and healthy cell growth and function. Bottom line: it’s time to plate up. They’re easy to cook, just make sure you slap them above hot coals and don’t roast them into smoldering lumps. You can seal in moisture and flavour by repeatedly brushing your shrimp with marinade and splashing on lemon juice.

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