Are Healthier BBQs Possible? You Bet!
For a lot of Australians, the warm summer months mean that barbecue season is here. Think big juicy burgers while the kids play in the pool; beers with mates while you watch over the snags together… or perhaps chicken skewers on and cans of soft drink in the park? A summer BBQ is without a doubt a fantastic way to soak up the hot days with family friends.
But when you’re attending BBQ after BBQ, you might start to notice your hard efforts with good nutrition at home and hard work at training coming undone. So, we’ve come up with a few ideas to help you make the most of socialising whilst enjoy healthier BBQs this summer.
You Don’t Have to Stick to Just Salads…
It’s OK – we promise we’re not about to tell you that in order to embrace healthier BBQs, you need to eat nothing but salad all summer long. After all, we don’t want you to miss out on the BBQ fun completely!
Now admittedly, a texture and flavour-packed salad can be a refreshing addition to your plate at a BBQ. However, the truth is that you’re going to tire of it pretty quickly if it’s the only thing you’re touching at every barbie party you attend all summer long.
So mix things up a little.
Opt for veggie skewers, grilled fish, or lean meats like kangaroo – just remember to save a little room on the side for some fresh salad to keep it company.
For an in-depth look at incorporating more plant-based food into your diet see our piece on 12 Ways to Eat Less Meat
Watch Your Portions
It’s easy to chow down on a hefty share of some of the potato chips or cheese and crackers that might be floating around the party before the main meal is ready. Especially is the cook is taking their time perfecting those steaks.
Instead of overindulging on an excess of unhealthy snacks, head for the fruit and veggie platter. Better yet – bring one yourself to ensure you have a ‘safe’ option!
When the main event is ready, be mindful of how much you load on your plate, and be sure to balance it out with whatever fresh veggies or salads are on the table.
Feeling like going back for seconds? Drink some water and wait for 20 minutes first – you might be less hungry than you think.
Are you struggling to manage your portion sizes? Our post, Be a Mindful Eater not a Mindless one may help
Treat Yourself – in Moderation
Don’t be monastic. You’re watching what you eat not conducting a scientific experiment. If you have a particular favourite food (cheeseburger, chips, pavlova, etc), then indulge guilt-free in that (in moderation, of course).
You can then make sacrifices with other foods (and courses) that you’re less keen on and substitute them for the healthier option (vegetables, salads, grilled fish, fruit, etc).
If you love your burger, have one. But choose the side salad rather than the fries to go with it.
If you’re hanging out for the dessert because it looks spectacular then keep off the sausages and chips beforehand. Substitute them for grilled fish and vegetables instead. Everything in moderation.
Air Fry Your Sides
If you have an air fryer, this is a great time to switch it on and crank out a few portions of low-free potato chips – or even Sweet Potato Fries.
Did you know that apart from air frying, many modern air fryers can also roast, saute, dehydrate and even bake crispy pizzas and fluffy cakes? For more information and prices, click here.
After all, aiming for healthier BBQs shouldn’t mean missing out on the best bits – just finding a way of eating what you like in a more nutritionally balanced form.
Not all of our advice about enjoying healthier BBQs relates to what you eat.
Remember when you were a kid at family BBQs, most of the grown ups would chill out to the side while the kids got busy playing backyard cricket or footy? Well, put the beer down, and join in the fun! Not only will you be setting a good example for your kids and creating fantastic memories, you’ll be squeezing in some valuable extra activity into your day – and every little helps.
Looking for something new to play this summer? Check out our range of Backyard games – there’s sure to be something you fancy.
If you’re at a kid-free BBQ, then take the initiative and start a game to pull yourself away from any unnecessary snacks that might be sitting on the table. Frisbee, or even a big kids game of backyard cricket will do. You could even suggest that everyone takes a walk around the block (or to the beach, if you live close enough) to help your meal digest.
So there you have it.
You don’t have to feel guilty for accepting an invite to a BBQ. Nor do you have to miss out on all the best dishes and fun.
Enjoying healthier BBQs is not as hard as you might think.
Follow our tips and make the most of getting outside in the warm weather and socialising with friends and family.