As the lockdown guidelines begin to ease here in England, our propensity to whip out the BBQ is on the rise. In fact, it’s actually National BBQ Week so what better time to explore some healthier options for our favourite weekend pastime.
Enjoying the ‘thrill of the grill’ with your immediate family or household, plus the joys of cooking and eating outside, is the perfect way to make the most of all of this sunshine we’ve been having. So we thought it was about time we brought you our top 5 tips for keeping BBQs healthy and nutritious.
1. Make your own marinades and sauces
If you want to really make a difference to your health then the best advice we can give you is to cook from scratch. These days food labels are pretty impenetrable and it’s hard to understand what’s actually in the products we’re buying. Not only that, but suggested serving sizes are often far smaller than the actual serving size you’d typically put onto your plate - it’s a sneaky trick that food companies use to make it seem like their tomato sauce (for example) is lower in sugar than it actually is. And let’s be honest, a BBQ requires a lot of sauce!
So why not experiment with making your own tomato ketchup and mayonnaise? That way you can also choose to use organic tomatoes in your ketchup with a dash of honey or maple syrup instead of a bucket of refined, white sugar, and in your mayonnaise you can opt for pastured, organic eggs and good quality extra virgin olive oil rather than refined vegetable oil.
Here’s a simple, quick and easy recipe for a healthier tomato ketchup. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!
Healthier Tomato Ketchup
- 270g tomato paste
- 3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- Salt and Pepper to taste
2. Opt for grass fed and organic produce
There’s nothing like a spot of sunshine, a cold drink and the smell of a BBQ to get us in the mood for a big old al fresco feast, but overeating can be extremely taxing for our digestive system and make us feel sluggish and tired.
When it comes to selecting protein sources for your BBQ, quality should vastly outweigh quantity. Opt for grass fed, organic meat where you can and be warned that if you’re gluten intolerant, sausages usually contain breadcrumbs as a filling agent. It’s important to remember that it’s common to use antibiotics in the feed of animals these days, particularly chicken, in order to enhance growth. When we consume these foods we also consume the antibiotic residues fed to the animals which has a negative effect on our gut bacteria and puts us more at risk of becoming antibiotic resistant.
Grass fed, pasture raised and organic meat is the way forward. Our advice is to make lots of lovely, fresh and exciting salads and view meat as a ‘condi-meat’ rather than the main event.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan then organic tempeh is great on the barbecue! We like to marinate ours in some tamari soy sauce and smoked paprika for a few hours before grilling.
3. Swap your carbs for keto!
When in doubt...make it keto. We’re firm supporters of a ketogenic approach to diet here at Cru8, as it helps to eliminate unnecessary sugar from the diet in favour of lots of wonderful vegetables, quality sources of protein and healthy fats. A ketogenic approach helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, keep energy up, and protect us from the deleterious effects on our health of having regular spikes in our blood glucose.
- Instead of a white flour burger bun, try our Paleo Keto breads or Vegan Keto Buns
- Instead of crisps for your dips try our Raw Seeded Crackers or Kale Crisps
4. Avoid refined sugar
The temptation to go all out at a Summer BBQ is high, but you can still enjoy some sweet desserts, cakes and treats without opting for refined sugar, processed white flour and vegetable oils. Our all time favourite for a Summer BBQ is fresh, organic strawberries and raspberries with a decadent slice of chocolate cake or chocolate brownie for dessert. It’s so Summery, and who can argue with the flavour combination of chocolate and strawberries?! So instead of conventional brownies or cakes try our Paleo Brownie Loaf or Spiced Carrot Loaf for a refined sugar-free option that’s also gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, decadent and truly delicious.
5. Have a healthy mindset
Above all else, food is love, enjoyment and happiness and it’s so important to remember that whilst planning your BBQ. Don't deprive yourself but do make sensible choices around food; quality over quantity, think about lowering the glycaemic load (lower sugar) of the food you choose, try some paleo or keto options and remember to avoid overly processed sauces and dips in favour of making your own!