With summer finally here, most people will be dragging their barbeques out of the shed by now ready to fire up a feast. In fact, many may have dreamed of doing so for quite some time, what with the blessed cursed sunshine we’ve been witnessing from lockdown the last few weeks (thanks for that, British weather…).
Yes, Covid-19 hasn’t so much as thrown a spanner into the works as chucked the entire toolbox and engineer in there. We haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy any social gatherings, and while everyone knows this has been for the best of course, there’s always going to be a slightly forlorn feeling as we gaze out to the sunshine.
But, if you have a barbeque you can use, you can certainly enjoy it with members of your household. No inviting the entire neighbourhood over, but you can bask in the sunshine of your back garden with your housemates, your beau, bff or household family. Not only that, you can make it healthy to boot! From strawberries to corn on the cub and asparagus, you may just find your new favourite summer dish — no heartburn required.
The health benefits
Lower your fat consumption by grilling
Grilling and barbequing meat can help to lessen the amount of fat you consume. The excess fat drips away through the grates when you grill or barbeque food, whereas pan-frying keeps the fats sloshing about to be absorbed back into the meat. The NHS even advises grilling meat to lower your fat intake, as well as trimming off visible fats before cooking.
It’s also worth remembering that fat is not the enemy! Avocado is a healthy fat that can spruce up a salad — a perfect side dish for your barbeque.
Veggies from the barbie are better!
You’ll want some fresh veg to go with your meat, and luckily, grilling veggies on the barbeque is not only healthy, but delicious! It helps to lower your fat intake as you don’t need much oil to cook vegetables. Plus, the slow-cook method of barbequing helps to lock in vitamins and minerals in those juicy veggies.
Did you know that lettuce can go right on the grates with the rest of your dinner too? Slice romaine hearts in half and drizzle with olive oil. Then sprinkle salt and pepper over the lettuce and drizzle vinegar on all sides.
Worried about the coals in your barbeque? Some doctors have suggested people switch to bottled gas for their barbeques instead, as it could be healthier.
This is because charcoal is a type of carcinogen, as the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines wreak havoc on the health factor of food cooked on an open flame. These cancer-causing chemicals have become a cause for concern for many, so switching to gas is the easy fix. Check out some gas bottle prices and make the switch to keep your barbeque healthy!
Plus, unlike coals, bottled gas is much easier to control, and in turn, the temperature is easier to control. Lighting the outside burners rather than the centre one and popping your food in the middle of the grill with the lid closed is an excellent way to keep that temperature manageable.
Quality over quantity
So long as you’re not overcooking things on the barbeque, your food will be flavourful and moisture-locked. As a result, you will be less likely to add condiments (and therefore, extra fats) to your food. This helps to keep an eye on those calories, as well as knocking down your sugar intake.
Throwing some skewers on the grill? Consider adding grapes between pieces of chicken or shrimp! Grapes have no fat or cholesterol. Plus they pack a powerful punch of vitamins C and K.
And here’s another healthy barbecue twist: instead of traditional toppings, grill up a mango to top your burger. Mangoes are a real superfruit, with tons of vitamins and minerals. One sliced-up cup is a solid source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamins A and C.
People love the taste of a good barbequed meal. It’s great to know then that not only is barbequed food tasty, but it’s also packed with vitamins thanks to the method of cooking preserving those all-important nutrients!
Grilling outdoors can be fun and healthy but be sure to observe lockdown measures. Check your local council website for guidance before you fire up the barbeque this summer.