Summer is winding down, but there’s still at least one great cookout or BBQ opportunity: US Labor Day weekend or the last weekend before ‘back-to school’ in the UK!
This often marks the last chance (barring a few Indian Summer Days) to have a celebratory cook-out with family and friends before work and school get in the way again.
We all want to have a good time and there is the stuff-it mentality about this time but you can have a great time without going the whole hog! Sticking to a tried and trusted regime of protein with salads and side dishes is very do-able for this kind of invitation and if you’ve been invited to bring a dish along you do have some control over what’s on offer to eat.
We’ve covered a lot of tips beforehand (you’ll see them in the ‘RELATED ARTICLES’ boxes and links below) but here are one or two refreshers …
5 simple ways to stick to your healthy diet plan at a BBQ.
- Opt for lean cuts of meat that are lower in fat. Chicken is also delicious cooked on the BBQ, and it has a lower fat content than beef burgers and sausages. You could cut some chicken breast fillets or skinless and boneless thighs into cubes and put them on to skewers with vegetables to make a healthy BBQ kebab.
- Fish is a great alternative to meat, and is also a low fat option to cook on the BBQ. A fillet of marinated salmon (using a homemade low fat and low sugar marinade) cooked for 10 minutes is delicious and provides you with a good dose of those healthy omega 3 fats!
- Salads are light, healthy and seemingly low calorie, but beware of the salad dressings which can be a calorie trap. Reduced fat/calorie dressings or balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of fresh lemon will prevent your calorie intake going through the roof.
- You can’t have a BBQ meal without a dessert, right? Instead of the ice cream, gateaux and cheesecake, why not choose a selection of your favourite fruit, chop them up and pop them on a skewer and warm them through on the BBQ, and then serve with some low fat yogurt. Or you could just keep things simple and have a refreshing bowl of fresh fruit salad. If you want to push the boat out then check out our bariatric-friendly ice creams, cheesecakes and puddings on the website.
- We’re not party-poopers, so we’re not going to suggest that you should abstain completely from alcohol, however I do recommend that you moderate your intake and use strategies that can help reduce your overall calorie intake, such as having low-sugar mixers with drinks (well stirred to remove any gas if fizzy), opting for single measures instead of double and drinking water in between drinks.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy dish to serve at a BBQ that has all the elements of a burger, but mini-sized and on a stick (so ideal for a crowd) then try making Bunless Mini Cheeseburger Bites.
These mini burgers are simply made from seasoned meat (beef, lamb, pork, chicken or turkey as liked) or vegetarian option that are cooked then quickly grilled with a slice of cheese on top, threaded onto a skewer with a little lettuce, a slice of dill pickle, a cherry tomato and a piece of bacon if liked. I tend to make my own with 450 g/1 lb lean minced/ground beef, 1 beaten egg and 3 tbsp panko or other breadcrumbs that’s seasoned with 1 tbsp mild mustard, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and plenty of salt and pepper. I cook in a large pan/skillet until cooked but still tender, about 12 minutes, then top with cheese slices and a lid and cook for a further 2 minutes to melt the cheese. I have however when time is short purchased some good quality meatballs and reheated them in the oven for about 10 minutes then topped with cheese for just a couple of minutes to melt.
They are the perfect size for WLS post-oppers who want a taste of burger without the intimidating size of a burger-tower! I can eat 2 with a spoonful or two of a side dish – leaving a little room for dessert. If you want to make them more substantial for non-wls diners then add a cube of bread/bun/bagel as liked.