Opt for a Healthier Barbecue this Summer

Barbecues work well as a social event and there’s something ‘freeing’ about dining outdoors that makes people come together more. And, of course, the food is always fab too. In addition, nine times out of ten it tends to be extremely plentiful as well.

So, there’s always the temptation there to overindulge. And the spring and summer is the worst time for this of course as that’s when we want to show off our (formerly) svelte figure. How can we make sure then that we stick to a healthy eating schedule despite all those tempting barbecue foods?

Of course the great thing about the summer is that fruit is more plentiful, as well as a better variety of vegetables. This means we can leave aside stodge for a bit. So what else should we be doing?

  • Swapping beef burgers for a healthier alternative This is easier to do than first appears. For instance there are plenty of yummy soyabean and other vegetable burgers available these days. Or how about a venison or turkey burger – neither of which contain as much fat as their beef equivalent? Or ditch burgers completely and think about frying pieces of chicken or fish. Always trim any visible fat before putting on the grill too
  • Grilling in tinfoil Wrapping fish or chicken in tinfoil and grilling them on the barbecue is healthier by ensuring there isn’t as much fat used to cook them. Make sure you remove the skin from the chicken first as this is where half the calories and saturated fat lies. Cut out processed meats if you can such as bacon, hot dogs and sausages (this increases the risk of certain cancers)
  • Making fruit-flavoured smoothies These are a much healthier alternative to wine or beer and don’t dehydrate you. You could also supply fresh fruit juices and squeeze lemons or limes into sparkling mineral water
  • Cut out the mayo and other fatty dressings Instead look at using low fat natural yoghurt for dressings in baked potatoes and pasta salads. Mustard also makes a nice dressing or make your own low-cal versions with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice
  • Concentrate on seasonal produce As we’ve already mentioned, because it’s summer there’s going to be an abundance of fruit and vegetables around so why not make them the focus of your barbecue? Steamed vegetables are incredibly healthy and salads are great at this time of year, so too are crudités (carrot and celery sticks or radish) with dips such as humus or taramasalata
  • Steer clear of sugary puddings Instead opt for fruit kebabs, slices of melons or berries in natural yoghurt. For diabetics, this is extremely important

Of course staying healthy doesn’t just mean eating healthy and if you are organising a barbecue it’s a good idea to take along some sort of exercise provision for instance, organise a game of rounders or beach cricket. Walking and playing Frisbee are great social exercises too and, if you are at the beach, thinking about cooling off and going for a swim (although make sure you do this before you eat!).

If you haven't actually got a babrecue yet and would like to purchase one then please have a look at our huge range of gas barbecues here.