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Sizzling healthy BBQs

Sizzling healthy BBQs

Barbeque season has arrived and not a marinated moment too soon. But how can you embrace the classic chargrilled offerings without damaging your health?

Use quality meat. Meat can be a great source of high-quality protein when cooked correctly. Choose a high meat content for sausages, and consider making your own burgers. Processed meats are best avoided. Oily fish such as mackerel will give you an Omega-3 boost. Vegetarian? Enjoy huge mushrooms or beanburgers! Perfect post-exercise fodder (in a wholegrain roll, of course).

Grill, don’t burn. Some research links chargrilling meat to cancer. It doesn’t even matter if you choose ‘healthier’ white meat, or fish. Dangerous compounds called HCAs are released when any meat is heated at high temperatures. Adding additional fats such as olive oil further increases this risk. To reduce the risk of burning precook small pieces of meat in the oven, or marinade first.

Marinade. Marinating acts as a barrier between meat and heat. Some reports claim up to 90% protection is possible. Marinating also pre-softens the meat which reduces cooking time. Beer has been cited as an excellent marinade, great for barbeques. Put some ginger, rosemary and garlic in your marinade and you’re also boosting antioxidants.

Veg out. Colourful side salads are an opportunity to add more antioxidant protection. Quercetin in red onions and lycopene in tomatoes are just the start. Think coleslaws with red cabbage, watercress and spinach salad, corn on the cob and sweet potato wedges.  Ohio researchers also found that adding fatty avocado to salads boosts nutrient absorption by up to 15 times. Antioxidant heaven!

Have fun. Finally, sunny barbeques can be the ideal way to wind down. Relaxation and laughter will lower stress hormones, boost immunity and improve general wellbeing.  Add in sunshine, a few physical games in the garden and you’ll be a glowing like a barbeque!

If you give a skewer about your health, eat your barbeques the healthy way. Combined with gym workouts, your body will be sizzling hot for summer.