There is a lot written about how unhealthy barbecues are and recent research by diet company Forza Supplements has suggested that during the average BBQ we consume more than 3000 calories.
However, this really doesn’t need to be the case! There are lots of delicious and healthy foods that taste great when barbecued, and they allow you to be more creative than the standard sausages and burgers that many people choose to cook.
Chicken is a lean, low-fat protein and is great for a BBQ as there are so many ways to cook it. Packed with vitamins and minerals, chicken is a great barbecue health food, and here are some delicious recipes to get you started:
A taste of chicken…
Garlic rotisserie chicken – Chicken is a very versatile meat and is great when marinated, so you can try out lots of different flavours. This recipe creates a moist, melt-in-the-mouth chicken that is perfect when served with salad or in a warmed brown pitta.
Chicken kofta kebab – Add some spice to your healthy barbecued chicken with this tasty recipe. This dish is very quick and easy to make as a starter or snack, or you could serve it with something healthy such as couscous or a salad to make it a main meal.
Health professionals recommend we eat fish twice a week thanks to its health benefits, as it is low in fat and contains fatty acids such as omega-3, which are essential to healthy brain and heart development. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines are the best source of omega-3, while white fish, such as cod, are a great source of low-fat protein and minerals. Here are some tasty fish recipes to try:
A taste of fish…
Crispy grilled fish – Use two fillets of your favourite fish for some added bite to your BBQ. This dish works with pretty much any fish and will be a healthy alternative to serve your guests!
Ginger glazed peppercorn trout – Oily fish such as trout has excellent health benefits, as it is very low in saturated fats and is packed with omega-3 which is good for your heart and brain. This dish has great textures, as the softness of the fish is complemented by the crunchy peppercorn and sesame seed crust.
Everyone knows the health benefits of vegetables, but many people shy away from them on the barbecue as they don’t know how to make a full meal from them. There are lots of great ways to cook and marinate vegetables to make them into a delicious dish, so don’t be afraid to experiment! If you don’t like to eat vegetables on their own then you could serve them with poultry or lean cuts of red meat to keep the dish healthy. Give these recipes a try to see how delicious vegetables can be:
A taste of vegetables…
Honey-grilled sweet potatoes – these tasty sweet potatoes are so easy to make and taste delicious. Sweet potatoes contain twice the amount of fibre as other potatoes, as well as large amounts of vitamin B-6 which is good for your heart.
Corn on the cob – Sweetcorn is another vegetable rich in beta-carotene, great for your overall health. Barbecued sweetcorn has a delicious flavour as the nature of the cooking caramelises its natural sugars and brings out a sweet and smoky taste.
Top tips for a healthy BBQ
Buy good cuts of meat – even so-called unhealthy red meat such as steak can be healthy if you choose the right cuts of the animal. The leanest cuts are sirloin and round (the rear leg) which are full of iron and B-12, which boost the immune system.
Don’t burn the food – many people barbecue food until it starts to blacken to ensure that it is cooked, but this releases harmful chemicals that are bad for you if consumed over time. Instead learn how to check when your food is ready.
Cook low and slow – research has shown that harmful chemicals can also form when food is cooked at a too-high temperature, so make sure you cook it lower but for longer. This will also mean that the meat retains its juices and tastes better too!