We all know what it is like when you want to lose a few pounds for summer, or perhaps you feel like you have and are now worried about enjoying yourself this summer? BBQ’s are great for weight loss as it’s similar to grilling as no added fats are involved in the cook process. On the downside, most barbecues involve an abundance of food and drink, so it’s easy to overindulge. Well there is no need to worry anymore with these simple ‘keeping it healthy’ tips which will allow you to enjoy BBQ’s with your friends and family this summer!
1 – Go Lean
Whilst we all associate BBQ’s with sausages, burgers and ribs, there are also plenty of healthier alternatives available. Examples include chicken (skinless varieties), sirloin steak, trimmed pork chops, fish and vegetables, all of which taste great grilled on the Barbie!
Don’t be afraid to be adventurous when using lean cuts, try making your own lean burgers. We use the BB’s ‘extra lean’ steak mince mixed with fresh herbs, grated veg, chopped shallots combined with egg and breadcrumbs. You could also try some salmon and vegetable skewers, simple to make and great for the waistline.
It is also important to enjoy what you eat so don’t deny yourself, if you fancy some sausages after a good week then go for it, just be sensible and watch how many you have. We love to enjoy a few of the BB’s Lamb and mint sausages (our favorite here at Bates Body Factory) or if we want to be that bit healthier the BB’s chicken sausages with lemon and thyme makes a great substitute.
2 – Swap marinades for dry rubs
Lots of off the shelf sauces will be high in sugars, which can add those unwanted calories to your lean cut of meat. Go for the dry rubs or venture into your herbs and spices cupboard. A few we would recommend include paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, and of course garlic. You can also add instant flavor with Worcestershire sauce, low sodium soy or a simple squeeze of fresh lemon and some black pepper.
Personally we have found the BB’s meat to taste great when cooked on the BBQ plain, especially the chicken and steak so don’t worry if your cupboards aren’t stocked.
3 – Get wholemeal
You don’t need to forgo the buns and rolls just because you are on a diet. If you make sensible decisions they can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. We like to have spicy bbq chicken in a wholemeal pitta bread, or our lean burgers in a Kingsmill wholemeal thin!
Remember though not everything on the BBQ has to go in a roll, if you go for the hot dog have your burger with some salad or coleslaw instead.
4 – Dip wisely
Be careful not to go crazy on with the crisps and dips. If you want to enjoy a few, opt for the tomato and yogurt based dips or bring along some reduced fat hummus. Swap crisps for vegetable crudités and try to avoid the creamy calorie dense dips.
5 – Don’t add calories in your side dishes
A simple salad can taste great in the summer alongside a flame grilled steak, but there are plenty of other exciting sides you can add to your BBQ spread. Try corn on the cob with garlic and chill, feta and chickpea salad, tabbouleh, sweet baked potatoes, healthy homemade coleslaw or vegetable kebabs.
Check out our healthy tabbouleh recipe below (Serves 2):
· 50g Bulgar Wheat
· 50g fresh, chopped coriander (use parsley if you aren’t a fan of coriander)
· 200g ripe tomatoes diced
· 1 red onion finely chopped
· ¼ cucumber finely diced
· Juice of ½ a lemon
· 1 tbsp. olive oil
1) Rinse the bulgar wheat in a sieve until the water runs clear. Drain well. Cook as per the package instructions.
2) Keeping the coriander in a bunch, chop the leaves roughly. Don’t worry about the inclusion of some of the stalks; this all adds to the flavour.
3) Put the chopped herbs in a large bowl and add the tomato, cucumber and onion.
4) Thoroughly drain the bulgar, then add to herb mix, along with lemon juice and olive oil. Mix thoroughly, season and serve.
Tip: This always tastes better the next day when the flavours have infused, so try making it a day in advance!
6 – Alcohol
We all know a proper summer BBQ should be washed down with an ice cold beer or a large glass of wine, but a few wise choices could save you those extra calories. Try adding some ice and soda to half a glass of white wine, this way you are reducing your unit and calorie intake without feeling like you are missing out. Another low calorie option would be to try a clear spirit with flavoured sparkling water. My favourite is gin with lemon and lime infused sparking water.
Treat alcohol as you would food when looking to lose weight. You wouldn’t eat 3 burgers and expect to shed a few pounds; this works the same if you are indulging in 4 or 5 pints! Remember it’s all about balance.
7 – Don’t be too hasty
We have all been here, the BBQ Gas goes off and the table is laden with BBQ treats…”what do I have first?” BBQ’s are great for grazing throughout the evening so have a small plate to begin with and go back for seconds later. Don’t over do it in the first sitting, your body needs a chance to burn off those calories before you plough a load more in! Go steady and anything you didn’t get to try will taste great the next day for lunch.
For more tips and advice on healthy eating visit our website www.batesbodyfactory.co.uk/bbf-approach-nutrition