Tips for a Healthy Summer BBQ

On one of our most recent blog posts "Summer Guide" , NSW dietitian Asheigh Brunner talked us through a few steps to help stay energised and maintain a healthy balance over the holidays. We are lucky enough to have Ash back to extend on this and give us some tips to healthify your next BBQ! No more feeling sluggish after gatherings, these small changes will have you feeling lighter with a bit more sparkle! 

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 cancers (Australia's second highest cancer killer!) They are also high in saturated fat and salt. Stay away if you have high cholesterol or high bloody 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! 

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, nut 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 bloating feeling the day after.

Better option: Offer to bring a plate of chopped crunchy vegetables and hummus or low fat tzatziki instead.  

5. 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 stickers with hummus or 1 scoop plain greek yogurt with 1 piece of fruit. That way, you will arrive level headed so you can serve yourself a sensible portion. 

6. 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
- The team at Body Fusion Nutrition and Dietetics 

Want to read more from Ash and her team at Body Fusion? Click here for their website!