How to survive... the BBQ!
With the weather hotting up it's most definitely time to go Al Fresco. I absolutely love sitting out in the garden with my family and friends, soaking up the glorious sunshine and atmosphere and eating really good food. And why not?
BBQing has to be one of the healthiest methods of cooking so what's going wrong? Why do we end up overindulging on all the wrong things that we know will undo all the hard work we've put in over the week and will undoubtedly have us feeling guilty, bloated, uncomfortable and lethargic the next day? You know the things I'm talking about... loads of white bread, crisps, processed meats and cheese, dips and dressings, ice-cream etc., BOOZE!
My top tips on how to BBQ the 'boot camp friendly' way:
- Drinks - There's no need to booze the day away folks, just make big pitchers of fancy non-alcoholic drinks that will keep you well hydrated. Fruit punch, iced tea, virgin mojitos... got to town with the brollies and garnishes if you like, and a fancy glass will help you sip instead of slurp. If you really can't resist that cheeky glass of wine well go for spritzer - it'll make it last much longer and is far more refreshing.
- Nibbles - Switch crisps and generic supermarket dips for crunchy crudites of carrot, cucumber, pepper, celery and sugarsnap peas served with home made humus or aubergine dip. Olives are great too. Fill up on these healthy delights and you'll be less tempted to indulge with a pud later.
- Meat - Why not ditch the burgers and sausages that'll have you reaching for a starchy, insulin-spiking blanket of bread and opt instead for bbqing whole joints of meat or whole fish. Spatchcocked chicken in a BBQ marinade, rib of beef in a chinese spice rub, a minted butterflied leg of lamb, whole smoked salmon or smaller grilled sardines or mackerel stuffed with parsley and lemon are all divine. Or alternatively make up kebabs of diced chicken, lamb, prawns or salmon in a jerk seasoning or splurge with prawns and scallops in chilli, lime and ginger or even big fat juicy steaks. My mouth is now watering uncontrollably!
- Veggies - I load up my kebabs with peppers, baby onions, mushrooms, courgettes and cherry tomatoes but why not try asparagus skewered at each like a raft and brush lightly with olive oil, or aubergine slices grilled and served as a salad with feta, tomatoes, basil and pine nuts. Corn-on-the-cob always goes down a treat too.
- Salads - Don't waste time with a bowl of limp lettuce that no one will touch. Make the salad a big part of the meal and fill up on it too. If you don't fancy my above suggestion with aubergine you could rustle up a green been and puy lentil salad with lemon and cumin, or roast vegetables and quinoa with balsamic dressing and pine nuts - all go fabulously with barbecued meats.
- Puds - In the past past I always made several big dessert dishes - profiteroles, trifles, cheesecakes, pavlovas, the works - so people had choice (and to show off my culinary prowess!) but was always tempted by massive portions and the need to try a bit of each and then of course was always stuck with a mountain of leftovers that simply had to be scoffed that night. Major gluttony! Now, I tend to make individual portions for each person - problem solved! Try grilled fruit skewers - pineapple works really well - or foil fruit parcels on the bbq, baked bananas with chocolate, little chocolate mousses or fruit fools or frozen fruit kebabs. Members check out the dessert recipes in the Members Only Area for more ideas. Otherwise, what about a big bowl of fruit salad, sorbet, semifreddo.
Hopefully this has shown you that you can indulge the tastebuds and your appetite whilst entertaining without having to throw the healthy eating plan out the window. So go ahead and enjoy an amazing summer with your friends and family.
Stay well, eat well and be happy x