Nichola Ludlam-Raine, Specialist Dietitian at Ramsay Health Care | 18/07/2022

How to have a Healthy BBQ, PLUS a non-alcoholic, low sugar PIMMS Recipie.

Summer is (finally!) here and with that, comes BBQs, garden gatherings and maybe even dining al fresco if we’re lucky! If you enjoy BBQ’s regularly, it may be beneficial to make a few changes so your meal isn’t only more nutritious, but filling and tasty too!

Vary your protein sources

Sausages and burgers are delicious, however it is recommended to consume no more than 70g of red meat everyday (or an average of just <500g a week) due to the higher levels of saturated fat and sodium, which if eaten in excess can increase the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure too. If you want to include these foods, try looking for burgers made with lean or low fat mince and/or low fat sausages. Salmon, white fish or chicken (white meat) wrapped in foil with a squeeze of lemon and herbs/spices of your choice are also delicious and are high in protein, too! Salmon is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids and counts as your recommended one portion of oily fish a week.

Make it colourful

A simple BBQ may look a little beige but the great thing about adding colour - for example with side salads, or grilled fruit for dessert is that you’re adding a whole host of vitamins and minerals to support your health and help you meet your 5-a-day too! Corn on the cob is great for a BBQ, but how about some mixed vegetable skewers too? Simply chop up some peppers, courgettes, add some cherry tomatoes or any other veg of your choice, drizzle with a little olive oil and grill!

Add fibre!

Whether it’s a homemade mixed bean salad, swapping your regular bread buns for wholemeal/seeded or choosing wholewheat pasta for your pasta salad, making simple swaps to increase your fibre intake helps to reach the daily recommended amount of 30g a day to support your digestive system. Not only this, but it helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer too as it’s digested more slowly!

Keep mindful of your alcohol intake

BBQ’s are a place where the drinks can be flowing and it might feel difficult to say no sometimes, although if you’re managing your weight, alcohol can be a big contributor to calories and we should be consuming no more than 14 units of alcohol, spread throughout the week. Try to plan ahead, and make some fun low alcohol options such as no added sugar juice with fruit, light fizzy drinks or create your own alcohol free pimms - see the recipe below!

Eat mindfully

When faced with lots of delicious food on offer, it can be all too easy to bypass your hunger and fullness cues and eat with your eyes. However, by taking the time to slow down whilst eating and wait for 20-30 minutes after finishing your plate before deciding if you want anything else, you will allow time for your stomach to signal to your brain that you may/may not be feeling full and make an informed decision afterwards.

ALCOHOL FREE PIMMS

Ingredients:

  • 750ml sugar-free lemonade⁣
  • 250ml low calorie tonic⁣
  • 20ml balsamic vinegar (liquid, not glaze)⁣
  • 1 orange, sliced⁣
  • ¼ cucumber, sliced⁣
  • 1 handful of strawberries, halved⁣
  • 1 handful of mint leaves⁣
  • Optional: 100g pomegranate seeds⁣

Method:

1. Simply prepare your fruit - you can swap around to suit your preferences!⁣

2. Add the diet lemonade, tonic and balsamic to the jug and stir well. ⁣

3. Leave in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to infuse.⁣

4. Add 2 handfuls of ice to the jug before serving, pour into individual glasses and enjoy!⁣

By Nichola Ludlam-Raine, Specialist Dietitian at Ramsay Health Care

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