Top tips for a healthier BBQ

With summer just around the corner and Bank Holiday BBQ’s on the radar, we take a look at how to create a healthier BBQ feast without scrimping on taste.

The summer BBQ can be heavy on fat and calories but there are easy ways to create a healthier BBQ feast without scrimping on taste.  Try these simple tips from The Yorkshire Dietitian Vanessa Quarmby and HECK.

  1. Fill your plate with veggies and salad. We should all be eating plenty of veg and BBQ season is the best time to eat more. Vegetables can be transformed into delicious dishes. Why not try asparagus brushed with oil or vegetable kebabs? Try peppers, mushrooms, courgettes, tomatoes and onions on skewers. They are really tasty if brushed with oil or a marinade. Corn on the cob is another delicious way of hitting your 5 a day.
  2. Try not to burn or char food too much.  Keep turning meat over on the BBQ and remove charred portions of meat before eating; all these tips can help you reduce your intake of unhealthy substances that can form when meat is heated at very high temperatures.
  3. Many of us these days might be a little more conscious of the food we eat, whether for general health or weight loss reasons. If you're watching your waistline, try a lower fat sausage, there's lots of new products out there such as the HECK chicken range. 
  4. Did you think fish wasn't suitable for the BBQ? Think again! Salmon, trout, sea bream or any fish you fancy with a slice of lemon wrapped in foil can be quickly and easily cooked on a BBQ. Served with new potatoes and salad makes for a very healthy meal.
  5. If you are watching your fat intake use a spray oil (instead of brushing foods with oil) or use a lower fat marinade.
  6. Don't feel guilty putting a tasty burger on the BBQ; red meat, such as beef, provides iron and some of us are not getting enough in our diets. Having salad with your burger can help you to absorb the iron better as foods such as tomatoes provide vitamin C to increase the absorption of iron.
  7. Jacket potatoes or sweet potatoes cooked in the BBQ are delicious and low in fat. Simply wrap in foil and place directly in the coals for an hour (for a tennis ball sized spud). Great if you have vegetarian guests or guests with a dairy/gluten intolerance.
  8. Side dishes needn't be unhealthy or covered in mayonnaise. Try yogurt dressings for salads such as coleslaw or how about having a rice salad, with raisins for chewy sweetness and crisp apple for crunch. We all know we should eat more fibre but most of us don't know what to do with beans or lentils; try making a salad with them, they add protein, fibre and they're low in fat too.
  9. You can make the BBQ do all the hard work for dessert too - simply wrap bananas in foil and put them in the glowing embers, serve with Greek yogurt for a sticky sweet and healthy pud.