Health, Latest News, Lifestyle | Posted: Monday, June 1st, 2020 at 12:53 pm | return to news

Enjoy a safe and healthy barbecue

This wonderful spell of weather is tempting many of us to think about having a barbecue.


However, following recent huge fires locally, including Wareham Forest, it must be remembered that disposable barbecues are illegal on heathland, and they are not permitted in the New Forest. You should only light fires or barbecues in designated areas or in your own garden.

From today, Monday 1 June, six friends or family members – providing they are two metres apart – can gather for a summer barbecue so the temptation is there to get cooking outdoors.

In the wake of the coronavirus, we are all being urged to become slim and fit, so are barbecues healthy?

According to Heart Research UK they can be.

Foods that are high in saturated fat, such as red meat, butter and hard cheese, can increase your risk of heart disease. You can cut down on saturated fat for your barbecue by swapping red meat, sausages and burgers for skinless chicken, fish or low-fat vegetarian meat substitutes. Alternatively, you can thread cubes of chicken or firm fish onto skewers with slices of bell pepper, courgettes, mushrooms, red onion and cherry tomatoes before grilling.

Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet can reduce your risk of heart disease. Instead of using white bread rolls for your barbecue, you could switch to wholegrain rolls or wholegrain pitta, a brown rice salad or jacket potato.

Include plenty of salad and vegetables to make your barbecue colourful and nutritious. Avoid using too much salad dressing on salads as this is often high in calories. Try rubbing a spicy marinade on pieces of courgette, bell pepper, onion, cauliflower florets, and mushrooms and grilling them on the barbecue.

To make the marinade, mix together 2tbsp olive oil, 1tsp harissa or chilli paste, 1tbsp lemon juice, 2tbsp tomato puree, 1tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander and ½ tsp Dijon mustard. Rub or brush the marinade onto the veg and leave it for at least 20 minutes in the fridge before putting it on the grill (you can thread the veg onto skewers before grilling if you wish).

And for dessert – try grilling slices of pineapple, watermelon, halved bananas, peaches, nectarines or plums for a healthy dessert. The natural sugars will caramelise, giving them a lovely sweet flavour. Serve with a spoonful of thick, creamy yoghurt and sprinkle with a handful of chopped toasted nuts, such as hazelnuts or almonds.

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