Grill Your Way to a Flat Belly

I used to look at a grill and see a hunk of steel with one function: burning the pink out of burgers. That’s it. Just backyard fast food. What I failed to realize is that before me was one of the greatest weight-loss tools on the planet.

The grill isn’t designed to cook meat; it's designed to cook food. To harness fire so you can sear, char, and caramelize any number of meats, vegetables, and fruits. A hot gridiron is a place where bland asparagus wilts into a backyard delicacy, homemade pizza crisps into an artesian flatbread, and ordinary fruit transforms into a gourmet dessert infused with the smoky signature of the grill. And what’s more, all of these foods are infinitely healthier than their pan-fried counterparts.

Dry heat—the kind that radiates off the grill—is the world’s healthiest cooking method. Throw the lid over the grates and your grill becomes a smoker, keeping moisture locked in while the steel slats create space for excess fats to drip out. If there’s a more flavorful way to lose weight, it’s yet to be discovered. That’s why we dedicated an entire chapter to expert grilling in our bestselling cookbook, Cook This, Not That!

If you want to cook yourself thin in just minutes, here are 15 quick, easy and delicious suggestions that burn belly fat fast. Think of these as the weight-loss recipes that will make your neighbors jealous.  

Flat-Belly Secret #1: Spicy HoneyMustard Pork Tenderloin
Combine equal parts Dijon and honey, plus a chopped chipotle pepper. Spread half over the surface of a pork tenderloin or chicken breast. Grill until firm, but still yielding, and brush with the other half of the sauce before serving.

Flat-Belly Secret #2: Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Breast
Season a chicken breast with salt and pepper, wrap in thin slices of prosciutto, and grill over low heat until the prosciutto is crisp and the chicken breast is firm. Also works with a fillet of halibut.

Bonus tip: This dish strikes a perfect balance between big flavor and lean eating, but not all chicken is good for you. Check out #2 on our shocking new list of the 20 Worst Foods in America—the nutritional details will blow your mind (not to mention maybe an artery or two).

Flat-Belly Secret #3: Grilled Watermelon Salad
Cut watermelon into half-inch squares. Rub with olive oil and grill until lightly caramelized. Toss with arugula, goat cheese, more olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Flat-Belly Secret #4: Simple Grilled Shrimp
Mix plenty of olive oil with a few cloves of chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Marinate shrimp in half of the mixture for 20 minutes, and then grill over high heat for 2 minutes a side, brushing with the remaining garlic oil.

Flat-Belly Secret #5: Herb-Grilled Haloumi Cheese
Place a hunk of haloumi cheese (found at Whole Foods or in Greek markets) directly on the grill. Cook until lightly charred on the outside, about 2 minutes a side. Top with olive oil and fresh herbs and serve with toasted bread.

Bonus tip: Ever wonder how sexy celebrities build those amazing bodies? Learn the fast and proven nutrition and fitness secrets of America's hottest celebs among these Best Summer Bodies 2010 winners so that you can look YOUR best ever.

Flat-Belly Secret #6: Gridiron Pizza
Roll a ball of pizza dough (store-bought or homemade) into 12-inch rounds. Cook on a well-oiled grill until the crust is firm enough to handle. Top with tomato sauce or pesto and your choice of cheese and toppings. Return to the coolest part of the grill, cover, and cook until the cheese begins to melt.

Flat-Belly Secret #7: Chopped Summer Salad
Toss zucchini slices, eggplant planks, onion slices, and asparagus spears in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill until lightly charred, then remove to a cutting board and give them a rough chop. Toss with cooked bow-tie pasta, plus olive oil, the juice of a lemon, and grated Parmesan.

Flat-Belly Secret #8: Spicy Shucked Oysters
Shuck a dozen oysters. Top with softened butter mixed with lemon and Tabasco. Place the shells directly on the grill and cook until the butter begins to bubble, 3 to 5 minutes.

Flat-Belly Secret #9: Curry-Seasoned Chicken
Mix curry powder with softened butter. Stuff under the skin of chicken breast and thighs and grill until lightly charred and cooked all the way through.

Flat-Belly Secret #10: Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich
Marinate a chicken breast in teriyaki sauce for half an hour. Stick it on a hot grill, and when it’s nearly cooked, melt a slice of Swiss overtop. Serve it on a whole-wheat bun with pickled jalapenos, rings of red onion, and a grilled slice of pineapple. 

Flat-Belly Secret #11: Tri-Tip Steak
Rub a tri-tip steak with salt, pepper, garlic, salt, onion powder, and cayenne. Grill over medium heat until lightly charred on the outside and pink throughout, about 10 minutes per side.

Bonus tip: Wash down these meals with anything from our comprehensive list of the Best Beers in America—and nothing from this utterly shocking list of the 20 Worst Drinks in America. (Drink any from the latter list, even as a weekly treat, and you could be adding an extra pound or two of belly fat a month!)

Flat-Belly Secret #12: Grilled Strawberry Shortcake
Mix together sliced strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Set it aside. Throw a slice of angel food cake directly on the grill, and when it’s toasted and caramelized, remove it and scoop the strawberry-balsamic mix on top. Garnish with a scoop of whipped cream.

Flat-Belly Secret #13: Grilled Pineapple Sundae

Grill slices of pineapple until nicely caramelized. Top each with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of melted dark chocolate.

Flat-Belly Secret #14: Grilled Apricots
Halve or pit an apricot or peach, and then cook flat side down until softened, about 5 minutes. Top each slice with a big scoop of Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon walnuts, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup.

Flat-Belly Secret #15: Chicken Tacos
Rub chicken breasts with garlic, lime juice, and cumin. Grill until firm and serve sliced into warm tortillas with grilled onions and guacamole.

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