THE MUSCLE BUILDER: TURKEY SAUSAGES
Don’t turn up your nose – turkey sausages make cracking barbecue food. They take longer to cook than their traditional pork cousins, so treat them like chicken and cook for seven to eight minutes on both sides before cutting to check they are cooked through. Low(ish) in fat and high in taste, serve with mustard and you’ll be onto a wiener (sorry).
BEST FOR A TIGHT BUDGET: CHICKEN WINGS
Ah, our old chum, chicken: the low-fat, protein-packed friend of any idle footballer. Rather than chicken breast (a bit boring for a barbecue), plump for wings, cooking for seven to eight minutes on each side. For those who are looking ahead to those torturous pre-season runs, remove the skin – the fattiest part.
More after the break
BEST FOR POST TRAINING RECOVERY: FILLET STEAK
It may be as pricey as a Manchester City summer signing, but it’s worth spending a bit more on a decent bit of fillet steak: the leanest cut. Once you’ve marinated it, wrap the steak in cling film and bat it down to thin it out so that it’s quicker to cook. Then remove the steak from the cling film and whack it on the barbie for one to two minutes on each side.
THE PRE-GAME CHAMPION: LAMB KEBAB
Choose between a cut of leg or rump – shoulder is a fattier option – and marinade with paprika, garlic, crushed coriander seeds and olive oil. Chop the lamb into cubes and skewer with peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes. You ideally want them medium-rare, so four to five minutes on each side should be enough. Lovely.
THE LIGHTER OPTION: TOFU KEBAB
Don’t sneer. With the right marinade – you can use the same one as you did for the lamb kebab – tofu can be surprisingly good. Once marinated for a few hours, cook for four to five minutes on each side. Tofu is a good source of calcium and vitamin E and also helps lower cholesterol.
LOW FAT, MUSCLE BUILDER: SALMON STEAKS
Packed with protein and Omega-3 and ultra-low in fat, this is what C-Ron would serve at his barbecue (we daren’t think about the other Ronaldo). So if you like to celebrate by taking your shirt off, place a salmon fillet in foil with lemon juice, chopped parsley and olive oil, and cook for 10-12 minutes. Finish by taking it out of the parcel and cooking directly on the grill for a minute on each side to add smokiness. Mmm.
A BIT ON THE SIDE
Partner your meat feast with any combo of the following. Come on, it’s good for you!
By substituting lettuce for this nitrate-packed leafy treat, you’ll increase the amount of oxygen flowing to your muscles.
Fewer carbs than spuds and a member of the “complete” protein clique, Quinoa (right) is full of the amino acids needed to build muscle.
Multi-tasking beetroot is high in nitrates, lowering your cholesterol and stabilising blood pressure.
Sunflower seeds, walnuts – these will give you healthy fats and Omega-3, the oil for your creaking knees.
Brace yourself: packed with calories and carbs, beer is out. Go for slim-line gin and tonic: for a summer hit, add a dash of cranberry and pomegranate juice.
VERY BERRY SMOOTHIE
You don’t need milk or yoghurt: just grab a large handful of blueberries, raspberries and cherries, blend, and mix with crushed ice and your choice of gin or vodka.
THE MUSCLE SMOOTHIE
Use the recipe above, switch alcohol for Greek pro-biotic yoghurt (with its protein, calcium and B-vitamins). Top with coconut water (electrolytes).