Everyone is trying to incorporate more protein without adding too much fat to their diets, but even the biggest chicken-lover sometimes wants an alternative. 

Here are some ways to think outside the chicken box this summer.

Different poultry

Cornish game hens are a fun alternative to chicken, especially for parties, since everyone gets their own personal bird. 

Most preparations call for baking the hens, which weigh around two pounds each, in the oven, but you can also butterfly and grill or pan fry the birds. Just cut the backbone out of the hens using a knife or kitchen scissors and press it flat. 

Fresh herbs add a nice, summery touch.

Ground turkey is a great low fat alternative to ground beef and can be substituted in many recipes, such as spaghetti, tacos, and burgers. 

Since it is leaner, ground turkey can be dry, but when a tomato sauce or salsa is added, the difference is less noticeable. 


Like ground turkey, ground pork can be substituted in many recipes. Try stir-frying it with some summer vegetables for an easy meal. 

Season the pork with some soy sauce, stir fry it in a hot wok or fry pan for a few minutes until it begins to brown, and add vegetables and more soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. 

Pork tenderloin is also lean and flavorful. Sliced into medallions and sautéed quickly in a pan, it makes a great, easy meal. 

After cooking the pork, add some garlic and summer herbs to the pan drippings, deglaze with a little dry white wine and stir in a pat of butter to make a sauce. 


Summer is the perfect time for fish. Pan-frying catfish or other firm white fish is quick and easy. If fresh fish isn't available, frozen works great. 

Put the fillets in a bowl, cover with cool water, and leave at room temperature to thaw. When you are ready to fry, pat the fillets dry, drip them in beaten egg, and then in potato flakes seasoned with salt and pepper or Cajun seasoning. 

Fry in a cast iron pan with an inch of peanut oil for 6 minutes or so on each side until golden brown. The cook time will depend on the type of the fish and the size of the fillet. 

For a really fast dinner, there's nothing like shrimp. Even the largest shrimp cook in just a few minutes. Rather than boiling them in a pot of water, you can just sauté them in a pan with a little butter or oil. 

The seasoning possibilities are endless. Add some cumin and chili powder to the oil for a Mexican preparation and make tacos with corn tortillas and salsa. Indian is as easy as putting in curry powder and serving with rice and plain yogurt. 

Classic Cajun shrimp can be made by replacing the oil with butter and putting in Cajun seasoning and Tabasco and serving with French bread. Always serve the shrimp with lemon slices so everyone can add juice to taste.

Incorporating lean meat to your diet doesn't mean just chicken breast. Change it up with different lean meats, using either recipes you already have or new ideas.