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Fire up the grill, summer is officially here! Up and down the country, the smells and sounds of summer will be filling the air. If you’re planning your own barbeque, you’re probably already wondering what to serve…

We all know that the 5 main ingredients to the perfect BBQ is good food, good weather, good company, good music and maybe just a splash of alcohol 😉.

Some of those are out of your control (who knows what the weather will do this year?), but you can make the food great by serving a selection of scrummy low-calorie, high protein and vegetarian options, depending on your tastes.

Here are our top tips and recipes to help keep your BBQ healthy, but still delicious, this summer.


Marinades

Marinating meat, fish and vegetables not only gives food extra flavour, but can also have incredible health benefits! Spices such as thyme, sage, garlic and rosemary are packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants are said to help neutralise free radicals in our bodies and free radicals have been linked to a range of diseases. Alcohol may play an important part in your BBQ - for your marinade at least! Red wine in particular is full of antioxidants, and this is no different when used in a marinade. Studies found similar effects using beer!

Marinades are super easy to make! Simply mix all the ingredients together and coat the meat or vegetables for at least one hour before cooking to soak in the flavour. Some of our favourites are:

Honey Soy: 2 tbsp honey, 4 tbsp soy sauce, juice from 2 limes and 2 crushed garlic cloves.

Red Wine: 1 cup of red wine, ¾ cup olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp pepper, 5 crushed garlic cloves, 2 tbsp diced onion and 2 sprigs of rosemary.

Tex-Mex: 2 tbsp linseed oil, 2 tbsp paprika, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp tomato puree, 60ml of water and 2 crushed garlic cloves.


Lean cuts of meat

Lean meat is a rich source of protein with a lower fat content and therefore a lower calorie content. Examples of lean meats with relatively low-fat content are:

  • skinless chicken and turkey (the skin can account for up to 80% of fat content)
  • lean cuts of beef like steak, tenderloin rump and sirloin tip roast
  • lean cuts of pork like loin/rib pork chops with the fat trimmed off (this can reduce the fat by about two thirds)


  • Try: Grilled shrimp and chorizo skewers with paprika glaze

    ¾ cup olive oil, 4 crushed garlic cloves, 2 tbsp thyme, 5 tsp paprika, 4 tsp sherry wine vinegar, ¾ tsp salt, ½ tsp ground black pepper, ½ tsp crushed red pepper, 12 uncooked extra large peeled and de-veined shrimp, 12 1-inch long pieces chorizo sausage, 12 cherry tomatoes, 12 red onion wedges, vegetable oil spray and 6 long metal skewers.


    Try: Grilled rib pork chops with peach relish

    6 (1-inch thick) bone-in rib pork chops, ground black pepper, brine consisting of 8 cups of water, 1 cup salt and 1 cup of sugar. Vegetable oil for grill rack and 1/3 cup liquid from peach relish: 4 peeled and cut medium peaches, ¾ cup sugar, ½ cup cider vinegar, ¼ tsp hot red pepper flakes, 1 chopped small red onion and ¾ tsp salt.


    Don't scrimp on the veggies!

    BBQ season lets you get creative with your vegetables in ways that you just can’t indoors! Try veggie kebabs with peppers, onions, aubergines, mushrooms, tomatoes, courgettes… Anything you like! Freestyle and create your own skewer combinations! There are also tasty veggie options when it comes to burgers. Popular choices include mushroom and chickpea, kale and quinoa, or halloumi and bean patties – even a meat lover would appreciate!


    Try: BBQ black bean and onion burger

    1 cup cooked brown rice, 1 cup walnuts/bread crumbs, ½ tbsp avocado oil, ½ medium chopped white onion, 1 tbsp chili powder, cumin powder and paprika, ½ tsp sea salt and black pepper, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 and ½ cups black beans, ¾ tbsp veggie BBQ sauce.


    References

    Gousto - Healthy Barbecue Ideas
    Health.com - Healthy Grilling Tips
    Reader's Digest - BBQ Foods that are Actually Good for You
    Epicurious - Grilled Shrimp and Sausage Skewers
    Epicurious - Grilled Rib Pork Chops
    Minimalist Baker - Easy Grillable Veggies