Be BBQ Savvy this Summer

Emma Brown - Nutritionist | 07 May, 2019

Who doesn't love a good barbecue? But according to one study, you could be clocking up a staggering 3,000 calories in just one meal - and that's without drinks! Add beer and wine and it's easy to see how too much alfresco dining can pile on the pounds!

You might be shocked to discover that just 1 burger, 1 hot dog, a jacket potato and some coleslaw tots up to almost your entire day's allowance if you're on a reduced calorie intake to lose weight.

But barbecues don't have to come with a diet warning: grilling your food is actually a healthy way to cook and your choice of protein doesn't have to be fattening. With a few savvy swaps here and there you can save over 800 calories, and no one will notice the healthier changes.

Here's a few ideas for healthier alternatives.

Swap this Kcals Fat For this Kcals Fat
Burger in a bun with cheese 526 26.4g Burger (with no bun) 224 13.8g
Hot dog with onions 343 16.6g Reduced fat sausage in a roll (no onions) 207 4.5g
Chicken thigh drumstick 163 10g BBQ'd chicken breast 148 2.2g
Pork chop 231 14.1g Tuna steak (140g steak) 150 1g
Pork ribs (per rib) 137 9.4g Chicken kebabs (per skewer) 104 2.4g
Jacket potato with butter 249 8.6g BBQ'd sweet potato slices (150g) 128 0.3g
Potato salad (100g serving) 169 13.1g Reduced fat potato salad (100g serving) 105 5.5g
Pesto style pasta salad (100g serving) 247 15.3g Tomato pasta salad (100g serving) 131 4.7g
Coleslaw (per 50g serving) 87 8.1g Reduced fat coleslaw (50g serving) 55 4.6g
Mayonnaise (per tablespoon) 96 10.5g Extra light mayonnaise (per tablespoon) 18 1.1g
Ceasar salad dressing (per tablespoon) 67 6.8g Light French dressing (per tablespoon) 12 0.4g
Crisps & cheese & chive dip (30g crisps) 247 17g Veg sticks & reduced fat houmous (50g) 173 9.7g
Fruit Trifle 279 15.3g Raspberry pavlova 135 4.2g
Raspberry cheesecake 330 20.3g Raspberry roulade 224 8.3g
Cider (pint) 204 0g Low alcohol cider (pint) 97 0g
Lager (pint) 165 0g Lager shandy with diet lemonade (pint) 74 0g
White wine (150ml glass) 113 0g White wine spritzer with soda (130ml wine) 98 0g
Mojito 127 0.2g Pimms & diet lemonade 91 0g

Don't skip using your food diary

Be honest by still tracking what you eat, even if you know you've gone over your calorie allowance. It will make you conscious of how much you've eaten and help you to compensate over the rest of the week by cutting back slightly.

Use the Week View in the Nutracheck App or on the Nutracheck.co.uk website to manage this – your aim is to get a green tick overall for the week.

Top tips!

  1. Opt for lean protein like fish, chicken or turkey breasts or fillets. Avoid poultry which is eaten with skin e.g. drumsticks.
  2. Choose lean cuts of meat, and for meat products such as sausages and burgers, buy lower fat options.
  3. Rather than frying onions, bake them in foil parcels on the BBQ.
  4. Choose low fat dressings, relishes and marinades – avoid creamy options.
  5. Marinade your meat before cooking so you don't have to add lashings of sauce and relish afterwards.
  6. Salads, burgers, chicken and sausages can all be eaten cold so don't feel under pressure to 'finish them off'. Save for a cold meat and salad meal the next day.
  7. Watch your alcohol – each drink adds calories to your meal and the more you have, the more you're likely to overeat!
  8. Fill your plate first with leafy salad, then lean protein like chicken or fish, leaving only a little room for the calorie-laden extras like potatoes, coleslaw, pasta salads and mayo.

Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.