The summer sun is a great excuse to fire up that barbecue and eat al fresco, but what should you have on the grill if you're trying to eat healthily? Check out these top 5 tips for a healthy summer barbecue, and you won't just be left with a lacklustre salad plate.
- Make pizza on the grill
Grilled pizza makes for a delicious way to eat your fruits and veggies. And, if you use unleavened flatbread as your pizza base, things will cook up nice and quick!
Try making a giant pizza on lavash bread, using houmous or pesto for the base, then add coined cherry tomatoes, kale leaves, cooked chickpeas, mushrooms, pineapple chunks, or whatever other plant-based goodies you like. Put the barbecue lid down and cook until the bread is a little crispy and the veggies look a little caramelised!
- Make veggie skewers
Barbecues are a great opportunity to try new foods, and to try eating foods in a different way. If you typically steam broccoli, bake tofu, fry tomatoes, and eat pineapple raw, it's time to make veggie skewers and get them on the grill.
Cut big chunks of veggies such as aubergine, courgette, bell peppers, and squash, and skewer these along with whole mushrooms, shallots, and cherry tomatoes. Then barbecue the veggie skewers for a few minutes on each side, until nicely browned, and drizzle a little barbecue or buffalo sauce over the skewers to serve.
- Ditch the meat
One of the easiest ways to enjoy a healthier barbecue is to make vegetables and legumes the stars of the show. Avoid the meat, especially fatty meat, and you'll also avoid the carcinogenic chemicals that are created when animal flesh is cooked at high temperatures. Leaner meats are a little better than fatty red meats, but even chicken contains heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) - two groups of chemicals that can dramatically increase your risk of cancer.
- Keep it clean!
The heat of summer, and long, lazy days outside, can mean that food gets left to spoil in the sunshine. Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella are two types of bacteria that rapidly multiply in summer heat and are often found in meat and on unwashed salad greens.
Make sure to cut your risk of post-barbecue belly ache by washing all veggies, fruits, and salad leaves, and keeping these away from any uncooked animal foods. Use separate chopping boards and, to cut your risk further, skip the animal foods altogether!
- Spice up your salad
It might get a bad rap when it comes to barbecues, but salad can be more than just a side dish. Try making a three-bean salad with kale, tomatoes, and cucumber tossed in a delicious sesame and agave dressing. Or, try a chickpea Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, tossed in creamy cashew and nutritional yeast dressing, complete with crunchy croutons toasted right on the grill!
Summer barbecues aren't all about burgers and beer. This summer, you can have your barbecue and be healthy too!