Whether you are a regular griller, or you only occasionally degrease the rack and cook up some steaks for close friends, barbecuing offers unique flavors as well as an enjoyable atmosphere. It even gives you the opportunity to show off your pristinely maintained external living area. While you might think of a barbecue as being a red meat feast, littered with high calorie beers, and you may even know of the potential for charred meat to carry excessive amounts of carcinogens, there is no reason that you can’t enjoy a healthy meal. Here are 9 Tips For A Healthier Barbecue.
1 – Get Creative With Veggies
Burgers, sausages, steaks; these tend to be the constituent parts of a barbecue menu. Unfortunately, none of these are particularly healthy, although you can prepare your own burgers and you can make them from lean turkey or lamb mince to reduce calories and minimize your fat intake. Get creative with vegetables, and even fruit, in order to enjoy a more varied and balance menu, to increase your intake of different vitamins and minerals, and to reduce calorific intake.
2 – Grill More Fish
You don’t have to limit your healthy options just to fruit and vegetables, either. There are many dish that can be prepared and cooked on the barbecue. Some of them can be grilled directly on the rack, but some may fall apart too easily if they are prepared in this way. For flaky fish, you can wrap them in foil and create parcels that can be cooked on top of the grill rack or even placed in cooling coals in order to really envelop them in heat and ensure that they are cooked through. Add some lemon juice or garlic for added flavor.
3 – Remove Skin From Chicken Breasts
Chicken is a healthy meat. It has less fat than red meats and it is lighter when eating. Chicken can be used to make skewers or kebabs, and portions can be cooked in foil parcels. You can even remove the backbone, and spatchcock the chicken to make it even easier to cook. However you choose to prepare and cook the chicken meat, though, you should remember to remove its skin. The skin of the chicken contains unsaturated fat and while it is believed that small amounts of unsaturated fat occasionally is not bad for you, you should consider removing the skin before barbecuing in order to enjoy a lower fat meat option.
4 – Wrap Meat In Foil To Avoid Carcinogens
When fat drips off meat and onto the coals, it causes flare ups that could potentially cause the creation of carcinogens on the food. Carcinogens can increase the likelihood of getting cancer, and while it might be unlikely that eating a burned burger will lead to cancer, it is a risk that can be easily avoided by wrapping meat in foil and ensuring that you don’t get flare ups. Strictly speaking, it is the charred section of the meat that has the highest concentration of carcinogens so if your meat does get burned, try to remove these sections before eating in order to eliminate the risk.
5 – Check Meat Temperatures
There is no excuse for meat that is burned on the outside and raw in the middle. This is generally a sign that you started to cook on the barbecue before it was really ready. The flames should have disappeared and the coals should have burned to a grey before you even contemplate putting meat on the rack. You can also buy inexpensive meat thermometers and probe thermometers that can be inserted into the meat to check the temperature. Try not to stab the meat too often, though, or you will ruin the flavor by letting the meat juices run out.
6 – Don’t Overfill Plates
Another common mistake during barbecues is to get carried away with the cooking and, once too much food has been prepared, it can be very difficult to take a sensible portion size. A decent rule of thumb is to only three quarters fill your plate, and this doesn’t mean that you should go out and buy larger plates. You should only eat until you’re full, rather than eating to clear your plate, especially if you are looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. If you’re still genuinely hungry after eating your three quarters of a plate, you can always go back for the other quarter of a plate.
7 – Check The Sides
No matter how healthy your main meals and meat dishes are, all of your hard work can be undone by the addition of coleslaw and potato salad with full fat mayonnaise and other side dishes and side orders that are high in calories and fat. Use light mayonnaise, or replace it with lower fat alternatives. Instead of pasta salads, offer proper green salads, and also check the fat and calorie content of any sauces and other sides and extra dishes that you include.
8 – Low Fat Desserts
When it comes to dessert, ice creams and chocolate based puddings can be replaced with fruit dishes and other healthier alternatives. You can even create fruit skewers or fruit parcels that can be cooked on the barbecue to create great tasting desserts. If you do make fruit desserts, avoid chocolate sauces and syrups because these too are very high in calories and sugar.
9 – Replace Rolls With Pittas And Wraps
Rolls are high in carbohydrates and surprisingly high in calories. Even brown and wholemeal bread is likely to be higher in calories than you imagine. Pittas, wraps, and flat breads offer a great alternative. They are better for you, they can even be home cooked on the barbecue while you are preparing the rest of your food, and you can add extra ingredients to the bread to further enhance the flavour of your foods. Create garlic pitta breads and flat breads, and you should find that the flavor of the bread negates the need to add sauces.
BBQWorld.co.uk has a large catalogue of barbecues, barbecue accessories, and other accessories. Buy high quality barbecues from the likes of Weber, Broil King, and Outback, as well as accessories like smoking chips.