How To Have A Healthy Barbecue
Forget about whatever was on your meal plan for this week, because the sun has other ideas. It’s time to get grilling with our top tips for how to have a healthy barbecue – because yes, it is possible to enjoy a barbecue when you’re trying to lose weight.
Opt for lean meat
Instead of immediately going for fat, juicy burgers, which are almost guaranteed to have hundreds of calories, go for cuts of lean meat instead. Skinless chicken cubes skewered between veggies is perfect for the BBQ, or if you’re determined to enjoy a burger, give turkey burgers a go. You can find ready-made ones in supermarkets (try Aldi or Lidl), or you could make your own with turkey mince and a twist of salt and pepper. This recipe for turkey burgers also mixes in an apple to keep the turkey moist.
Swap your sausages
Sausages are another BBQ classic, but they can be really high in calories. Sainsbury’s summer BBQ sausages are 222 calories per sausage, for example. Add in a bun and ketchup and you could be looking at over 400 calories for one hot dog.
Heck’s Chicken Italia sausages are one of our favourite weight-loss staples, and they come in at just 76 calories for 2 grilled sausages. We’re not suggesting that they’re a like-for-like alternative, but they are delicious.
Don’t forget about fish
Barbecuing can bring out the best in fish, and yet they’re probably not your first choice when attending a BBQ. King prawn skewers, smoky salmon and even barbecued mussels – this BBC Good Food round-up of barbecue fish recipes is a great place to start.
Fish can be low in calories but also really satisfying, so make the most of things like prawns (roughly 70 calories per 100 grams) and salmon (roughly 190 calories for a fillet), both of which work really well when grilled.
Try some meat-free options
If you’re heading to a barbecue, you’re probably looking forward to the meat. But don’t count out veggie and vegan alternatives. Meat-free alternatives have come on a lot over the past few years, and now all major supermarkets have a vast range of plant-based options.
Well-regarded burgers include the Beyond Meat burger (285 calories), Oumph’s vegan burger (193 calories) and (our favourite) Co-Op’s Incredible burger (207 calories).
There are kebabs (like Wicked Kitchen’s garlic & herb kebabs, 275 calories for 2 kebabs) hot dogs (like Moving Mountain’s plant-based hot dogs, 76 calories each) and even pulled ‘pork’ (like Asda’s meat-free BBQ pulled porkless joint, 163 calories for 1/4 a pack). You can even get vegan mayo to compliment your food.
Even if you’re not vegetarian or vegan, if you fancy a change from meat there are some delicious options on the market.
Load up on veggies
Veggie skewers are a great part of any barbecue, and as veggies are low in calories you should 100% load up on them. Some of the best vegetables for grilling on the BBQ include red onion, peppers, tomatoes and aubergine. Cut them into large chunks and cook until charred. You could eat them as they are, or marinade them in a mixture of lemon juice, herbs and oil like this recipe from RecipeTinEats.
Barbecued veggies are excellent with pasta to make a slightly healthier take on your regular barbecue pasta salad staple, and if you’ve got any leftover after your barbecue they’re great folded into an omelette.
Keep an eye on sauces
It’s almost too easy to smother your food in sauce, but you need to be careful as some sauces and other condiments are surprisingly high in calories. A tbsp of mayonnaise is over 100 calories (easy win – switch to light mayo for 40 cals per tbsp), and each tbsp of ketchup is 15 calories, which isn’t loads but it certainly adds up when you’re liberally squirting it on everything.
Keep an eye on how much you’re having, or make the switch to ‘light’ options to save on cals.
Remember – everything in moderation! You can absolutely have barbecue food when you’re trying to lose weight. So enjoy your barbecue, because before you know it the sun will disappear and we’ll be back to enjoying stews and soups in the dead of winter.
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