Aussie summers are typified by the smell of sizzling sausages on the BBQ, long afternoons of grazing over cheese and jatz, and maybe a few too many glasses of beer or wine. Weekend after weekend of these gatherings can make the body feel sluggish, lacking energy to jump out of bed and for some even bloating and pain. This year, we and many of our clients are on a mission to make healthy normal. So, to help put the zing back in your step, feel lighter with a bit more sparkle, follow our top tips to a healthy BBQ:
1. SWAP SAUSAGES TO CHICKEN OR SEAFOOD
WHY? Processed meats such as bacon, salami, hot dogs and some types of sausages have been classed as carcinogens, strongly linked to bowel cancers1 (Australia’s second highest cancer killer!2). They are also high in saturated fat and salt. Stay away if you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Try these swaps instead:
· Sausages –> Homemade chicken mince rissoles
· Forequarter chops –> Lean fillets (porterhouse) or cutlets
· Cabanossi sticks –> Mini chicken skewers
Better yet, throw some prawns and fish on the BBQ. Fish has been thought to reduce bowel, prostate and breast cancer.
2. ONLY OFFER 2 PROTEIN OPTIONS
WHY? Portion sizes often get blown out of the water at a BBQ. The more on offer, the more you want to eat. Our brains think this way so we don’t miss out on anything. Make it easier by only offering two choices – palm size lean steaks, marinated chicken breast pieces and garlic prawns are our top picks!
BONUS TIP: Fill up half your plate with salad and vegetables FIRST! The fibre (roughage) from salad and vegetables fills the stomach without loading up on calories.
3. SERVE COLOURFUL SALADS
WHY? We are always telling clients to ‘Eat a Rainbow’, and we encourage this for a reason. Every colour in fruit and vegetables codes for different antioxidants and phytochemicals. These are secret ingredients which play various roles in the body including reducing inflammation, helping to absorb nutrients and making you glow. Aim to have three different colours in each salad, for example: beetroot, rocket and tomato OR cabbage, mango and capsicum.
Do you prefer cooked vegetables? Try these yummy options instead:
· BBQ corn on the cob
· Add capsicum, zucchini & eggplant onto meat skewers
· Mix in grated beetroot, carrot, zucchini and mushrooms to hamburger patties
4. SKIP THE CHEESE & NUT PLATTER TO START
WHY? Cheese, nuts and crackers are high in salt and easy to eat a lot of – that is why they are many of our favourite foods! Did you know that 1 handful nuts + 1 large wedge of brie + 1 row of rice crackers is the same as eating 1 whole loaf of bread?! High salt intake causes water retention, often the culprit of that bloated feeling the day after.
Better option: Offer to bring a plate of chopped crunchy vegetables and hummus or low fat tzatziki instead.
5. BE ALCOHOL WISE
WHY? Alcohol packs a punch containing the second highest number of calories (energy) behind fat.
BEER DRINKERS ALERT: A six pack of a regular lager beer (6 x 375mls) contains approx. 3780kJ/ 900kCal which is one third of a males entire daily energy needs!
WINE O HOLICS: 4 glasses of white/red wine has the same amount of energy as half a large pepperoni pizza!
THE SWEET TOOTH: Cider and sweet pre-mixed drinks or cocktails are equally as potent because they have the alcohol plus sugars added.
· If you choose to drink, opt for a shot of a clear spirit with a soda water/diet mixer instead of beer & cider.
· If you’re a wine drinker, slow yourself down by finishing one glass at a time then chase it with a non-alcoholic drink such as soda water or a sugar free mineral water.
6. NEVER ARRIVE TOO HUNGRY
Arriving too hungry at any BBQ only makes it more difficult to eat a healthy, balanced meal. So eat regularly but lightly throughout your day. Before the BBQ, try a fibre rich snack such as snowpeas & cucumber sticks with hummous or 1 scoop plain greek yoghurt with 1 piece of fruit. That way, you will arrive level headed so you can serve yourself a sensible portion.
7. BE ACTIVE
We are very lucky to live in a beautiful country that provides us with some outstanding opportunities to be active. At your next event, get stuck into some fun activities too – a game of backyard cricket, walk to the park or kick around a football. Get everyone involved and enjoy!
Stay happy & healthy
Ash, Kat and Emily