BBQ Season Nutrition Tips

With summer in sight and the sun finally making an appearance, BBQ Season is well and truly here! For many of us, that means looking forward to long afternoons of BBQing and drinking in the garden with friends and family at every opportunity! While BBQ’s are a great way to get everyone together, the average BBQ isn’t the most diet-friendly. According to one study, you could be clocking up a staggering 3,000 calories per BBQ! (And that’s without the alcohol). Have one every other weekend and that adds up to a steady weight gain of around 2 lbs a month! BBq SeasonYou might be shocked to discover that just 1 burger, 1 hot dog, a jacket potato and some coleslaw tots up to almost your entire day’s calorie allowance if you’re trying to lose weight! But BBQ’s don’t have to come with a health warning – grilling your food is actually a very low calorie way to cook and your choice of protein doesn’t have to be fattening. With a few savvy swaps here and there you won’t clock up nearly as many calories (and your family will barely notice the healthier changes).  In fact a few simple swaps could save you over 800 calories! Read on for some healthier alternatives.

Swap This                                 Cals/Fat       For This                               Cals/Fat

Burger in a bun with cheese 410 / 20.5g Burger (with no bun) 195 / 15.5g
Hot dog with onions 330 / 16.1g Reduced fat sausage in a roll (no onions) 251 / 7.8g
Chicken Thigh Drumstick 163 / 10g Barbequed Chicken Breast 127 / 1.3g
Pork Chop 155 / 9g Tuna Steak (140g steak) 140 / 0.7g
Pork Ribs (per rib) 140 / 8.8g Chicken Kebabs (per skewer) 104 / 2.4g
Jacket Potato with Butter 204 / 8.5g BBQ’d Sweet Potato Slices (150g) 131 / 0.5g
Potato Salad (100g serving) 160 / 11.4g Reduced Fat Potato Salad (100g serving) 102 / 5.5g
Pesto Style Pasta Salad (100g serving) 226 / 13.9g Tomato Pasta Salad (100g serving) 137 / 4.9g
Coleslaw (per 50g serving) 90 / 7.6g Reduced Fat Coleslaw (50g serving) 50 / 4g
Mayonnaise (per tablespoon) 108 / 11.9g Extra Light Mayonnaise (per tablespoon) 12 / 0.5g
Ceasar Salad Dressing (per tablespoon) 72 / 7.6g French Dressing (per tablespoon) 23 / 2g
Crisps & Cheese & Chive Dip (30g crisps) 252 / 17.6g Veg sticks & Reduced Fat Hummous (50g) 173 / 9.7g

Swap This                                 Cals/Fat       For This                               Cals/Fat

Fruit Trifle 282 / 15.6g Raspberry Pavlova 195 / 7g
Raspberry Cheesecake 327 / 19.3g Raspberry Roulade 221 / 8.7g
Cider (pint) 204 / 0g Low Alcohol Cider (pint) 97 / 0g
Lager (pint) 165 / 0g Lager Shandy (pint) 156 / 0g
White Wine (150ml glass) 165 / 0g White Wine Spritzer with Soda (130ml wine) 130 / 0g
Mojito 155 / 0g Pimms & Diet Lemonade 80 / 0g


Don’t skip using your Food Diary

BBQ Season Be honest by filling in your Food Diary even if you know you’ve gone over your calorie allowance. This will help you to compensate across the rest of the week by cutting back slightly. Use the Week View to manage this – the aim is to get a green tick overall for the week. And while the sun is shining, what better excuse than a family game of rounders in the garden? Not only will it keep the kids occupied, it can also burn up to 290 calories per hour – enough to earn you a low fat hot dog! Plus you get to add it into your Exercise Diary!

Top Tips!

  • Opt for lean protein like fish, chicken or turkey breasts or fillets. Avoid poultry which is eaten with skin e.g. drumsticks
  • Choose lean cuts of meat, and for meat products such as sausages and burgers, buy lower fat options
  • Rather than frying onions, bake them in foil parcels on the BBQ
  • Choose low fat dressings, relishes and marinades – avoid creamy options
  • Marinade your meat before cooking so you don’t have to add lashings of sauce and relish afterwards
  • Salads, burgers, chicken and sausages can all be eaten cold so don’t feel under pressure to ‘finish them off’. Save for a cold meat and salad meal the next day.
  • Watch your alcohol – each drink adds calories to your meal and the more you have, the more you’re likely to overeat!
  • Fill your plate first with leafy salad, then lean protein like chicken or fish, leaving only a little room for the calorie-laden extras like potatoes, coleslaw, pasta salads and mayo.

Finally…. enjoy! When the sun shines, relax and make the most of it. And remember – you can burn a few calories in advance doing the prep! There’s half an hour mowing the lawn before your guests arrive, tidying the garden and lifting / moving the garden furniture – they ALL burn calories. Happy healthier barbecuing!