Healthier BBQ ideas for the summer

Posted on July 6, 2021

Healthier BBQ ideas for the summer

When the sun shines in the summer, there’s no better al fresco feast than a barbecue. With lots of processed meat and ready-made side dishes can make for a less-than healthy meal. If you want to enjoy healthier outdoor cooking, here are some ideas for your BBQ menu. 

Mix up your mince

Homemade burgers are often much healthier than processed, shop-bought burgers, and swapping beef mince for leaner turkey mince is another way to make your barbecue buns more nutritious. Turkey mince is lower in fat and saturated fat than beef or lamb mince, and outside of barbecue season works well in a lasagne, chilli or any other mince-based dish.

For a veggie alternative, use Quorn mince to make your burgers. Whether using meat or a meat-free substitute, the trick is to really compact the mince when making the patties so they stay together on the grill. If quorn mince is not your preference, then a simple veggie or vegan patty can be made, using toast, rice and beans. Simply mix the brown rice, beans, sauteed onions, mushrooms, ground nuts and breadcrumbs together. 

Switch salads

Making a salad with grains and pulses like lentils, quinoa or bulgur is a tasty alternative to the usual bowl of lettuce – and creates a dish that’s full of fibre, contributing to your daily recommendation of 30g of fibre a day. It also keeps you fuller for longer, with its high protein content. Just add in all the other colourful vegetables and maybe an apple for a nutritious, delicious salad.  If you do make a classic leaf-based salad, avoid ready-made dressings that are often high in fat, sugar and salt. Instead, add flavour to salads with pomegranate seeds, fresh herbs or citrus juice and zest. 

Cut back on butter

Whether spread on a burger bun or smothered over corn on the cob, butter contains saturated fats and should be used sparingly. There’s no need to cut corn from the menu though, as its high in fibre and a good source of the omega 6 fatty acid. It also makes a healthy side dish. Just give it a light coating of low fat mayonnaise instead of butter, or add seasoning with spices like chilli and paprika. 

Make a marinade

Pre-made marinades in bottles or packets can add extra sugar, salt, preservatives and calories to your barbecue menu, so instead marinate chicken, tofu or paneer in fresh ingredients like lime and coriander, or greek yoghurt with lemon juice, garlic, oregano and basil. If you are cooking chicken on the barbecue, check it carefully before serving to ensure it’s cooked thoroughly with no pink meat.

Move to mozzarella 

Whether on top of a burger or dropped into a salad, soft, melty mozzarella contains less salt than harder cheeses, making it lower in sodium. It’s also a great source of calcium.

Prepare your own potato salad

Rich and creamy potato salad is a popular addition to the barbecue table – but it can also be high in salt, sugar and fat. Make your own at home by cooking halved new potatoes until tender, then combining with olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic, fresh basil and fresh parsley to create a healthier salad that’s still delicious.  

Swapping just a few of your favourite foods for these healthier alternatives could help you host a BBQ that’s better for everyone – and still just as tasty when enjoyed in the sunshine.