There’s no better way to enjoy the warming glow of the summer sun than enjoying a barbecue with friends. However, barbecue-style alfresco dining can lead you into all sorts of temptations that pile on the calories. Here we reveal the best swaps to ensure that filling your plate won’t have you filling out your waistline.
Burger Buns: White Bread to Wholegrain
“Wholegrain bread naturally contains more fibre than white bread. This means it can help to fill you up, and also breaks down and releases energy more slowly, making you less prone to more carbohydrate or sugar cravings later on,” explains Nutritionist Cassandra Barns. “You’ll also be getting more in the way of vitamins and minerals. So ditch the soft white buns and choose wholegrain-seeded buns for the perfect burger.”
Crisps: Fried to Baked
Whether you go for lightly salted or more exotic flavours, crisps will always be a hit when you bring out the barbecue. But like white bread, they provide quickly absorbed carbohydrates that will send your blood sugar soaring. They’re also high in salt, of course, and can be high in unhealthy fats as a result of being fried in vegetable oil. As an easy alternative, try baked oat ‘crisps’ such as Nairn’s Snackers [RRP 40p, Sainsburys]. Cassandra comments: “Oats provide slower-releasing carbohydrates and are high in fibre. The fact that these snacks are baked rather than fried means you’re avoiding the overload of unhealthy fats and additional calories from crisps, too.”
Burger: Choose High-Quality Meat
‘Bargain basement’ burgers can be lower in nutrients and higher in unhealthy fats, thanks to what the animals are fed on and the conditions they’re kept in. As a healthier choice, look for organic burgers – or, ideally, burgers made from grass-fed beef. Ask at your local butcher’s if you can’t find them in a supermarket. It’s also easy to make your own at home with grass-fed or organic beef or lamb mince.
Lager: Regular Pint to Organic Craft
Nothing says summer more than opening a cool, refreshing bottle of beer. However, with its high calorie content and tendency to causing bloating it may not be the healthiest choice at the barbecue. But for a better alternative, you don’t have to ditch the lager altogether; simply opt for something lighter such as CELIA Organic [RRP £2.29, Ocado]. CELIA is a craft lager made using a natural carbonation process. It is also gluten-free and is therefore naturally a much lighter lager. Due to this it’s less likely to cause bloating and can help reduce that barbecue-induced calorie overload.
Dressing: Mayonnaise to Olive Oil
‘Whether it’s for the salad or the burger, no alfresco barbecue dish is complete without dressing. But consider ditching the mayo: it’s high in unhealthy fats from sunflower oil that’s used to make it. Instead, take a tip from the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet by making an easy dressing with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or if you like creamy sauces, try making your own with Greek yoghurt instead of mayo,’ suggests Cassandra.