Did you know that the average Brit consumes around 3,200 calories at a BBQ, according to research from Weight Watchers.
It’s one of our favourite summertime highlights, to get the BBQ going and have family and friends over to enjoy a feast of burgers, hotdogs and salads.
But with fatty meats, sugary marinades and calorie-laden dressings, this summer treat can soon have us piling on the pounds.
Here are the typical number of calories in common barbecue foods
Sausage calories: 88 (without bun)
Burger calories: 295 calories (without bun)
Hot dog calories: 272 calories (with bun)
Burger calories: 495 (with bun)
Cheeseburger calories: 545
Veggie burger calories: 127
Veggie burger calories: 264
So how can we enjoy a tasty BBQ, without the high fat content? We asked an expert for a run down on how to dramatically dial down the calories on BBQ food. These are her healthy barbecue ideas…
Which are the healthiest cuts of meat?
Unsure what to look for when it comes to a good quality, low-fat cut of meat or fish? These are the best options…
- Chicken: Breast
- Lamb: Cutlets
- Salmon: Fillet
- Steak: Sirloin
- Pork: Tenderloin
- Tuna: Steak
Make sure none of these are processed – where the meat is preserved through curing, salting, smoking, drying or canning. These processes can introduce harmful chemicals, which are thought to be linked to heart disease and cancer.
What about cheese on a BBQ?
A tasty veggie pick. Terry recommends placing a frying pan on the barbecue and melting some coconut oil in
it. Then, pan-fry the halloumi for 2 minutes each side.
“Drizzle over a simple homemade dressing of extra virgin olive oil, fresh parsley, lemon juice, paprika and diced tomatoes,” Terry says.
Which oil is the healthiest?
“Choose an oil with a high smoke-point like grapeseed or coconut oil,” says Terry. “When oils reach their smoke-point they release toxic fumes and also produce harmful free radicals, something best avoided. The best oils are unrefined, full of polyunsaturated fats and antioxidants.”
Top tip: For low-heat cooking and dressings, use unrefined oils like extra virgin olive oil or nut oils.
How can I make burgers healthier?
It’s easy to make your own.
“Put 500g beef mince, 2 egg whites, fresh parsley, 2tsp English mustard and some seasoning into a blender. Blitz and shape into patties,” says Terry.
Top tip: Cook thick burgers on a slightly lower heat to cook evenly.
How do I make healthy BBQ sauce?
Avoid unnecessary mayonnaise and oil.
“To make guacamole you simply need avocados, lemon, coriander, salt and black pepper,” says Terry. Or go for a homemade BBQ marinade.
“Sauté 2 shallots, 2 crushed garlic cloves and a little thyme, gently so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add 500g fresh tomatoes, 4tbsp tomato purée, 2tbsp honey, 1tsp cayenne pepper, 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce and 3tbsp balsamic vinegar. Bring the mix to the boil, then simmer for 12 minutes. Season, purée and leave to cool,” says Terry.
Dessert? Yes please!
Sweet treats don’t have to be the enemy. Try Halo Top Sticks, £5 for 3, Tesco, which are 100 calories or less and a great source of protein. We love the Sea Salt Caramel flavour. w&h
Vegetables & salads
Here, it’s the dressings that can impact our waistlines.
“A lot of ready-made dressings are full of artificial ingredients, preservatives, fat and sugar,” says Terry. For a DIY alternative, try mixing extra virgin olive oil, mustard, lemon juice and salt.
Plus, remember to add some veggies to the barbie – aubergines, courgettes, mushrooms, tomatoes and peppers are all delicious barbecued for a few minutes.