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Image / Food & Drink

How to do a healthy BBQ


By Amanda Cassidy
25th Jun 2023
How to do a healthy BBQ

Good news!

If you are trying to eat cleaner, you don’t need to cut ALL your favourite foods from the standard barbecue menu to make it healthier.

Tasty food, refreshing beverages and good company are all elements of a traditional summer barbeque.

But as at the weather heats up and you spend more time with friends and family, it’s easy to overindulge

Whether you’re the host or a guest, we speak to nutritionist Kim Pearson about what to do to tip the healthy balance at your next grill out.

Serve healthier nibbles

Instead of crisps, olives and unroasted nuts make good nibbles for picking on whilst you wait for the main event. Kim suggests making some kale crisps or serve a healthier dip, such as guacamole with vegetable crudités.

“Kale crisps make a nutrient-packed, low carb pre dinner snack and they could not be more simple to make. This recipe uses just salt for flavouring but nutritional yeast and spices like paprika work really well too. Just keep an eye on them while they’re cooking to ensure they don’t burn.”

Be a mindful meat eater

“Instead of opting for processed burgers and sausages from intensively farmed animals, invest in better meat,” explains Kim.  “If you’re planning a last minute BBQ and don’t have time to order, pop down to your local butcher (if you have one) or select organic/free range meat where possible. And don’t forget that fish is great on the BBQ too.

Cooking food, especially meat, over smoke and flames can create carcinogens. Aim to cook food for longer over a lower heat. Don’t burn food and clean the grill well after you’ve finished.”

Swap healthier sauces

Kim explains that most traditional ketchups and BBQ sauces are high in sugar while most mayonnaise is made from refined seed oils. “Meats, fish and tofu can be marinaded in herbs, spices and citrus fruit zests combined with olive oil for flavour which will reduce your need for sauces.

Be creative with salads

There are many delicious ingredients that can be added to salads so think beyond lettuce and cucumber. Great ingredients for jazzing up a salad include: pomegranate, spiralized courgette, walnuts, pine nuts, rocket leaves, fresh basil and mint. Or try this strawberry and avocado salad recipe. “It works really well as a summer lunch with some added protein. You’ll need

One 100g bag of baby leaf spinach

100g organic strawberries

1 large avocado

1 shallot

3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon poppyseeds

Lemon juice, olive oil and honey (optional) for dressing

 

Wash, dry and halve the strawberries Peel and stone the avocado and chop it into chunks. Peel, halve lengthways and finely slice the shallot. In a bowl, combine the strawberries, avocado, spinach leaves, shallot and pumpkin seeds. In a small jar, shake together the poppy seeds with equal measures of lemon juice and olive oil. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve and enjoy immediately.

Veggietastic

Many of us tend to be so focussed on meat that we miss out on delicious barbecued vegetables. Peppers, aubergine, mushrooms and courgette work well cut into similarly sized pieces and cooked on skewers. Corn on the cob works well too.

Drink aware

If alcohol is often a key feature of your barbecue, offer some non alcoholic drink options too. Pitchers of infused waters will ensure everyone stays hydrated, try one of these three flavourful combinations from Marbella Club‘s Chef Andrés:

Cucumber, green apple, thyme sprigs and lemon peel.

Mango, lime, juniper berries and basil leaves.

Pineapple, strawberry, ginger, mint leaves and star anise

Hot and sweet

“Slices of fresh pineapple are delicious barbecued for dessert,” suggests Kim. “Or wait until the BBQ has died down leaving just white coals and place bananas onto it, leaving the skins on. Wait until the entire skin has turned black and they are soft to pinch then peel away the skin and eat. Barbecued fruit is delicious served with coconut milk yoghurt and topped with a drizzle of tahini and a sprinkle of cacao nibs.”