If you’re lucky enough to be spending Australia Day outdoors with family and friends enjoying a summery BBQ, here are some healthy ideas to cater for all nutritional needs!
General tips for a healthier BBQ Menu
On the Menu
Try to include fresh seafood on the menu in replace of red meat, other than being delicious seafood has a lower saturated fat content and is a good source of zinc and iodine. Some nice options include:
- Grilled Barramundi or whiting
- Prawn skewers
- Garlic and chilli marinated squid
- Seared salmon
Replace commercial sausages with homemade patties or kebabs and include a mix of fresh herbs and vegetables in the mince mixture or replace ½ meat with ½ legumes.
Ditch commercial salad dressing and aim to make your own using fresh herbs and good quality olive oil, such dressings not only taste better but also add more nutrition to your meal
Cooking meat at high temperatures, such as BBQ’ing can produce carcinogens. To make BBQ’ing a healthier cooking method, follow these tips:
- Marinate meats/proteins in antioxidant rich herbs and spices including mint, basil, rosemary, sage, marjoram, oregano and thyme, this can significantly reduce formation of carcinogens, some healthy combinations include:
- Garlic, thyme and lemon
- Coriander, paprika, garlic and cumin
- Sumac, oregano and garlic
- Rosemary, lemon and garlic
- Avoid burning meat and opt for cuts of meats which are quick cooking or can be simply seared and eaten rare or medium-rare
- If making skewers use ½ meat and ½ vegetables, this will cut down on overall meat intake and risk of carcinogens
- Eat meats with salad and salsa verde to increase overall antioxidant content of meal or drizzle with home-made herb oil such as basil oil
- If your BBQ has a slow cook function and you have a little more time up your sleeve, give slow cooking at a low temperature a go!
If entertaining guests who are vegan or if you simply enjoy incorporating plant-based eating into your regular diet, here are some vegan friendly options:
Miso Tofu and Mushroom Skewers
3 tbsp. soy sauce/tamari
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. miso paste
1 tbsp. ginger, grated
Blend all ingredients together until smooth and use to marinate tofu and mushrooms before skewering.
Potato Salad with creamy avocado dressing, simple blend 1 avocado, 1 clove crushed garlic, handful coriander, ½ tbsp. lemon juice and 1-2 tbsp. olive oil until smooth consistency is reached.
BBQ vegetable parcels with chickpeas, wrap favourite mix of root vegetables, capsicum and tomato in alfoil and add few tablespoons of chickpeas to each parcel before drizzling with olive oil, fresh rosemary, crushed garlic, chilli flakes, sea salt and pepper, BBQ until vegetables are tender.
Tofu burgers topped with fresh tomato salsa, mashed avocado and hummus.
Home-made coleslaw with toasted nuts and seeds and tahini dressing:
2.5cm ginger root, peeled and grated
1 tbsp. rice malt syrup
2 tbsp. tahini
2 tbsp. white or normal miso (paste)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/1/2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. tamari
¼ cup olive oil
Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
If gluten is off the menu for some guests, here are some healthy gluten-free ideas, which I am sure, all guests will enjoy equally:
Zucchini and corn BBQ fritters using besan (chickpea) flour to bind.
Quinoa and brown rice salads, this time of year my, Quinoa, Mango and Black Bean Salad is a crowd pleaser.
Rice paper rolls with avocado, salad, cashew nuts and BBQ chicken or seared tuna with a tamari dipping sauce.
BBQ corncobs rubbed with homemade pesto.
Ending the Meal
Grilled fruit Skewers are a healthy and light way to end the meal, my favourite combination at this time of year is pineapple, mango and strawberry, finish with a drizzle of lime and serve with coconut and/or greek yoghurt.
University of Arkansas, Food Safety Consortium. “Brush On The Marinade, Hold Off The Cancerous Compounds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070627124111.htm>.