We often associate BBQs with overindulgence, and with an abundance of burgers and beers, it’s easy to eat and drink too much. However, getting out the grill doesn’t mean you have to load up on calories, and it’s possible to socialise without packing on the pounds. If you’re planning a BBQ, make sure you add some healthy options so that you can enjoy grilling without the guilt.

Opt for lean meats

The meat that you grill makes all the difference to how healthy your BBQ is. When you’re making a shopping list for a BBQ in Perth, try to stay away from processed and red meats, and go for healthier options such as:

  • Chicken drumsticks and thighs without skin
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Burgers made with lean steak mince
  • Seafood – including lots of shrimp

If you buy meat such as steak that has a fat rind, then make sure it’s removed before serving, saving you from lots of extra calories.

Keep sauces light

Smothering your food in BBQ sauce or other condiments will quickly add calories and sugar to your diet. Therefore, you should avoid sauces from the bottle and make your own. If you’re having a barbeque in Perth, you can make homemade BBQ sauce in advance which will also impress your guests. Swap ketchup for homemade salsa, and mayonnaise for a light sour cream.

Try different marinades

Add flavour to your dishes, without the big calorie count, by making lots of different marinades. Try combinations of coriander, garlic, lemon, ginger, and other flavours. Simply chop or grind finely with a dash of olive oil, and pour over chicken or fish, preferably leaving overnight. If you have outdoor BBQ kitchens, then you can get the prep done in advance, and leave your meat in the outdoor fridge, ready to stick on the grill.

Fill up on salad

If there’s one thing there’s always plenty of at BBQs, it’s salad. Most hosts make a big salad that goes untouched, so fill up your plate with lots of greens. When you’re going to BBQs in Perth where there might not be healthy food, then bring your own salad or dish of crudities so you can fill up.

Vegetables help fill you up and prevent you from overeating. If you’re making skewers, try to have a 50/50 balance between meat and veg, so you eat fewer calories.

Avoid the snacks

The problem with BBQs is that you’re often standing around for a long time waiting for the food to cook, which means there will be bowls of nuts and crisps being handed round, and you can easily eat a lot of junk. Don’t turn up feeling starving, as this will be too much temptation, and stick to the veggies and hummus for pre-dinner snacks.

Ignore the bread

Many BBQ foods are served in big white rolls, which are full of carbs and can leave you feeling bloated. Opt for a naked burger, or go for something lower carb like a wrap. If you’re using alfresco kitchens, then stock up on wholemeal alternatives in your cupboard, or serve your burgers wrapped in a lettuce leaf rather than a bun. Serving food on skewers also cuts down on the need for lots of carbs.

Swap your sides

Lots of BBQ sides can be swapped for healthy alternatives, such as:

  • Swapping creamy potato salad for jacket potatoes
  • Create tomato-based pasta dishes rather than cheesy versions
  • Grilling aubergine and peppers for an easy side dish
  • Using rice and cous cous as a base

Remember not to go overboard on side dishes. Many hosts find that their guests are more interested in the meat and seafood, and that sides often end up back in your fridge as leftovers, encouraging you to overeat during the week.

Stick to one plate

The problem with most BBQs is that food comes out in waves, so you end up grazing through the night. Installing outdoor kitchens in Perth makes it easier to cook large batches of food in one go, helping you avoid eating too much. Ideally, you should fill up one plate, and try not to go back for seconds.

Finish off with fruit

If you’re hosting a BBQ, try not to finish off with sweet treats. Nobody wants to eat huge desserts after a big meal, so stick to light, fruity dishes. You can even use the cooling BBQ to make banana fritters or grilled peaches and pineapple slices for a fun finish.

Cut down on booze

Most of the calories consumed at a BBQ will come from alcohol. You’ll often have a few beers before dinner is served, as well as any cocktails or wine that have been offered by the host. All in all, this soon adds up. Stick to light beers or non-alcoholic drinks before the BBQ, and try to limit your intake. Alternating between alcohol and soft drinks can also help cut your consumption, so if you have an outdoor kitchen BBQ, then make sure you’re stocked up with cold drinks. You could also serve low calorie options such as:

  • Spirits with diet mixers
  • Wine spritzers or low alcohol wines
  • Cocktails with lots of crushed ice

It’s often all about the presentation. If you can serve drinks in chilled glasses with lemon, lime and ice, then they look appealing, and nobody will notice that they’re low calorie. Going non-alcoholic doesn’t have to be boring either. Make pitchers of mocktails for your guests, with lots of fruit and decorative touches, and they’ll be happy to switch from their alcoholic drinks.

Cater for the right numbers

One of the reasons we often overindulge at BBQs is that there’s just so much food. By catering for the right numbers without too many leftovers, there’s less chance of overeating, so you won’t be left feeling bloated and full.

If you’re looking to install a new BBQ, or a complete outdoor kitchen, call Barbecue Bazaar in Perth on (08) 9240 7188 to find out about our wide range of grills and accessories.