Three super easy marinades are bursting with fresh flavor!

By: Jodie Shield, MED, RDN

Who cares if you don’t have any summer travel plans? Take your taste buds on an exotic adventure. Simply fire up your grill and try one of these tasty marinades with seafood, chicken, or lean beef. Marinades help tenderize, add flavor, and offer a cancer-fighting health perk. Studies have found marinating meat before grilling can decrease HCA formation by up to 96 percent. HCAs form when proteins in meat, poultry, and seafood are cooked under high heat; grilling veggies and fruits produces no HCAs.

Skip bottled marinades; they’re too often loaded with sodium and preservatives. Making your own is so easy and way less expensive. Just remember:

  • Always include an acid ingredient like vinegar, lemon juice, or tomatoes to help tenderize the meat.
  • Oil is optional.
  • Adding a combo of herbs and spices will maximize flavor.

Here are three of my go-to marinades. To prepare them, simply whisk together all of the marinade ingredients in a measuring cup. Place the seafood, chicken, or lean beef into a resealable bag; add the marinade and mix well. Marinate everything in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, turning occasionally. Discard unused marinade or you can boil it for 2 minutes on the stove and serve it as a sauce.  All of these recipes are also on my FREE app Eat Healthy Homemade Meals in Minutes which you can download from iTunes or Google Play.


South-of-the Boarder Marinade:

  • 1 cup of salsa (hot, medium, or mild – your call)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped


Mediterranean Marinade:

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 springs of rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (optional)


Polynesian Marinade

  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N.
Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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