Summer is all about spending time with friends and family, enjoying the beautiful weather outside and eating delicious food – and what better way to make the most of this summer than to throw (or attend) those popular BBQs?
But sometimes it’s easy to forget that BBQs don’t always have the healthiest food options, what with the delicious smells and friends urging you to eat more. Don’t worry though – you can still enjoy all the barbecue has to offer while choosing or making healthier alternatives!
Lisa Kilgour, registered holistic nutritionist for Eat More Real Food, and Christal Yaciuk-Sczebel, registered nutritionist for Pure and Simple Nutritional Consulting, are here to assist you with your summer of BBQs, showing you that eating right doesn’t have to be boring.
Tip #1: Choose your meats wisely
At BBQs, you usually have an option between all sorts of meats – from burgers to hotdogs to chicken breasts – so which one should you go for? Yaciuk-Sczebel recommends choosing leaner cuts of meat (like chicken or turkey) or vegetarian alternatives, like veggie burgers (which are just as tasty as normal burgers if cooked well). “Homemade burgers are much better than buying a frozen or packaged burgers as they are often high in preservatives and additives,” she explains. “Red meat has the same amount of protein as chicken or turkey, but it packs in a lot more saturated fat and calories!”
Of course, there is always a danger when it comes to barbecuing meats. “The main danger when BBQing is when meat is overcooked or charred,” Kilgour says. “Blacking meat on the BBQ creates 2 potential carcinogens and both have been found to increase the risk of cancer in rats. Avoid this issue by keeping the temperature of your BBQ low and avoid charring, marinating the meat in rosemary (which has been found to reduce these cancer-causing toxins), and keeping your grill clean.”
Tip #2: Watch out for those hidden fats
All those foods at BBQs are so delicious, right? But with that tastiness, you just know that it’s got to have some glorious fat hidden inside. “When we go to a BBQ we tend to indulge in foods we might not have ordinarily,” Kilgour explains. “Beer, wine and sugary desserts can pack on the pounds. That second cheese burger with a large bun doesn’t help either!” That’s not all, though. Yaciuk-Sczebel recommends you skip out on that pre-made potato or macaroni salad, too, and opt for grilled potatoes instead.
Tip #3: Pace yourself
It’s easy to get carried away at BBQs. But when it comes to eating, make sure you don’t overindulge too much, otherwise you’ll pay the price later (Spandex pants, anyone?). So how to combat this? “The best way not to overeat is to eat slowly and chew well (which is easier said than done for most of us),” Kilgour recommends. “It will prevent you from overfilling your stomach and feeling too full and tired to enjoy the rest of the evening. It can also prevent heartburn!” Yaciuk-Sczebel adds to this: “Make sure half the plate has salad or grilled veggies on it. Always wait 10-15 minutes before going back for a second helping; a lot of the time you won’t feel hungry anymore as your stomach will have had the time to signal to your brain that you are full, and you will save yourself a load of calories and having to take the belt out a couple notches!”
Well, there you have it: three fantastic tips to help you make the most out of your barbecues while still eating healthy. If it’s going to be a warm weekend in your city, gather your friends, fire up the barbecue and get grilling!
Category: Quick Eats