For people following a high protein diet, such as weight loss surgery patients, grilled lamb is an excellent protein source that is low in fat and rich in minerals and nutrients. Marinating the lamb early in the day before grilling yields a flavorful and savory protein the whole family can enjoy.
Lamb is the most widely consumed animal protein in the world. In fact humans have spent the last 1,000 years getting the seasonings and cooking technique just right. Lamb is a staple in the southern hemisphere, most famously New Zealand. Africa, India and the Mediterranean countries all have signature methods of preparing and enjoying lamb. According to George Mateljan at The World’s Healthiest Food, “Americans eat a fraction of the amount of lamb consumed in many other countries in the world. And that is too bad since this red meat is very healthful and extremely delicious, having a very tender and buttery quality.”
Boneless leg of lamb is widely available today for a reasonable price. It may be prepared simply in the Mediterranean tradition with a marinade of provence herbs and olive oil. This sodium-free blend of herbs contains rosemary, thyme, savory, lavender, and other seasonings. I combine 2 tablespoons of the Provence herbs with 1/4 cup of olive oil and rub the lamb with the mixture early in the day, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until grilling time. I also toss chunks of onion and summer squash (zucchini) with the same mix of olive oil and Provence herbs to grill after the lamb is done and resting to allow the proteins to loosen and plump with natural juices. The lamb and vegetables make a complete meal, although some may enjoy grilled toasted pita bread on the side.
A 4-ounce serving of lamb and 3-4 bites of grilled veggies will be more than enough satisfy most weight loss surgery patients. A 4-ounce (114 grams) serving of lamb contains 229 calories and 30 grams of protein. Lamb is a rich source of tryptophan, a valuable amino acid most famous for inducing sleep. More importantly, lamb is a terrific source of selenium, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc and phosphorus.
The USDA recommends for safety reasons that lamb is cooked until it is medium rare indicated by an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Old school cooks generally overcooked lamb which is frequently called “gray lamb”. Lamb tastes best when it is hot as this tames the “lamby” or fatty taste that is often off-putting to the palate. A sweet fruit chutney or sauce or the classic mint jelly is a welcome accompaniment to lamb.
To determine your dietary protein needs a person should multiply their body weight in pounds by.36 the sum of which is the number of grams of protein needed per day. Most bariatric nutritionists recommended between 60 to 105 grams per day of protein intake for their patients. Always consult your surgical center for specific recommendations.