Barbeque season is upon us! Up there with Christmas festivities it is prime time for socialising with friends and family, relaxing, playing games and lets not forget indulging (sometimes over indulging) in some serious culinary delights and perhaps one or two more alcoholic drinks than usual. Here at Hip & Healthy we are all about moderation, so go on enjoy these rare summer outings, but don’t let the BBQ season spoil your hot summer body efforts. We have your back on this one. Let us talk you through some of the best advice out there for hosting and attending summer BBQ’s.

Make the right choices:
It’s easy to get carried away and opt for your average cheeseburger, but loaded with saturated fat and calories (even before the inevitable additional trimmings) it would be better to try switching to leaner turkey burgers, veggie burgers or even salmon burgers that are often more interesting and packed full of protein.  This is easier to do when hosting or when there is a BYOM (bring your own meat) option.

Grilling is in fact a great low fat way of preparing food. Get fishy and make sure you get the ‘good fats’ by grilling fish high in heart-healthy omega-3 to ensure you stick to a healthy diet even during this party season. It’s not only the main event (the meat!) that gets us, more often than not it’s the mindless snacking on the easily accessible crisp bowls. Swap this for a healthy option such as kale or sweet potato chips and homemade guac.

Load up on veggies:
As your first course why not load up on salad and veggies before even thinking about anything else. Not only are you getting a good dose of antioxidants, you will be less likely to overindulge in unhealthy food. Another easy way to add more veg into your cooking, without altering the whole concept of a BBQ, is to switch from simple burger or sausage grilling to kebabs. Kebabs allow for more heavy veg loading; make sure for every piece of meat you skewer, you skewer a vegetable too!

Be Polite!
Attending a BBQ and not sure you’ll find something beyond burger and bun? Contribute something that’s good for you! Come equipped with a leafy green salad or some homemade dip. Not only will you rest assured there will be something to pile your plate with, but your host will thank you for the extra pair of hands.

Keep Hydrated:
Keep a glass of water in your hand at all times. Drinking water before a meal will slow down your eating, avoid dehydration and those false hunger signals. As well as helping cut down over eating, this is far more beneficial than standing around with a glass of wine in your hand all day! Why not try adding slices of lemon or cucumber to jugs of water to make hydration just that little bit more fun.

Final handy tips:
Take your time! It’s not a race for the last burger going. Sit down to eat, not only will this ease digestion and reduce that post BBQ bloat, but enable you to be more mindful, enjoy your food and avoid excessive eating. Sticking to the same plate is another handy tip to steer away from endless food refills. Then GET MOVING, no serious workouts intended, but get playing, throw a ball and enjoy the summer weather!

We recommend going for veggie kebab options (which when seasoned and grilled are delicious!), grilled fish, which have some great fats and protein or skinless chicken. If your only option is a burger, there are so many ways to still get your veggies in, try popping it in a lettuce leaf as a makeshift healthy bun! One of the best things about a BBQ is the variety of foods, so with a bit of pre-planning you can ensure that you steer clear of the crisp bowl and shop bought dips. Instead try making your own guacamole or use Greek yoghurt for a healthier coleslaw. Another easy, yet delicious, change is to swap sugary sauces like ketchup and mustard for soy and teriyaki marinades as a way to ensure you don’t miss out on flavours but avoid the sugars!

Finally, remember life is about balance. Make the most of what you have, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself and give yourself the occasional treat.

words by Blaise Dyer