It’s that time of year again – the time when we all pledge to make big changes and lead healthier, happier lives. If, like millions of others, your New Year’s resolution for 2012 is to lose weight, then it’s time to fire up the barbecue!
Perhaps you’ve overindulged over Christmas, eaten too many mince pies, turkey sandwiches, chocolates, cakes and chestnuts. Maybe your belly has gained a few centimetres over the festive season. Or maybe you’ve been as good as gold throughout the holiday spell but still fancy kick-starting 2012 the right way, with a healthy diet.
Barbecuing is a healthy and delicious way to eat – and can be enjoyed all year round, with many of you even opting to cook the turkey on the BBQ at Christmas time. So with a few simple steps, you can make having a barbecue a great way to eat low-fat meals.
One of the great things about throwing a barbecue party is the variety of food available. You can cater for the meat eaters, fish fans and vegetarians with simple, fresh ingredients. And of course, the really good news at this time of year is that barbecue recipes are easy to make low in fat and calories yet high in flavour and goodness.
Some of the key ingredients to stock up on include meat, fish and vegetables. You can make traditional barbecue food like burgers and chicken drumsticks as well as more inventive options like seafood or vegetable kebabs. The trick is to stock up on the products that are healthy and that you enjoy, and then be creative.
Turn a few prawns, an aubergine, a couple of tomatoes, and a small chunk of mozzarella into a mouth-watering kebab. Slice an onion and wrap it in foil to cook it on the barbecue and enhance the sausages and burgers. Or add some spice to the corn-on-the-cob by adding a mix of soy sauce, chilli and ginger to the cobs before wrapping in foil and placing over the hot coals to cook.
Naturally you’ll want to marinade much of your barbecue food and have plenty of tasty BBQ sauces at the ready too. But these don’t have to be high in fat, especially if you make them yourself.
You can make a delicious marinade for chicken or fish by simply pureeing these ingredients (for four): 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, 1 tablespoon of water, 2 tablespoons of coriander, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, I chopped onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves and the juice of half a lime. Quick to make, this marinade adds a real zing to the dish and is healthy on top.
Alternatively, you can simply mix soy sauce with garlic and ginger or chilli and add to your barbecue food.
When it comes to barbecue sauces, try to stick to tomato and yogurt-based dips rather than mayonnaise-based. This way, you can enjoy the flavour without the added calories.
Wherever possible, save on calories, especially wasted ones such as needlessly indulgent barbecue sauces, and opt for a lighter alternative. This doesn’t mean your barbecues will be boring but rather that they will be healthier as well as tasty. By taking a few measures – remove the skin from chicken drumsticks, make your own burgers using lean mince, marinade the fish in a low-fat sauce, cut the fat off chops etc – you can ensure you enjoy a truly healthy New Year thanks to the BBQ!