High protein BBQ food ideas and health tips
It’s summertime, and the sun may or may not be (probably) shining. You’ve got some protein ice cream chilling in your freezer and it seems the only logical thing to do is to have a barbecue. But what seems on the face of it like a healthy meal can also be a minefield of fats and carbs. From avoiding the potato salad to dodging the burger buns, here’s the BULK POWDERS™ guide to a healthy and protein filled barbecue feast!
Choose salads carefully
Salads should be the healthiest of dishes, but mayonnaise laden potato salad and coleslaw can be misleading. Try a healthy mayo alternative dressing for your (sweet) potato salad like low fat yoghurt and crème fraiche, or create a dressing from lemon juice, honey and olive oil for a low-fat slaw.
Salads don’t have to be boring either. They can not only be delicious but also full of nutrients, minerals and fibre. A three bean salad containing green beans, cannellini beans and kidney beans is not only low in fat and high in fibre but also high in protein.
Using raw spinach leaves in your salad also ups the nutritional value. Spinach is high in zinc, fibre, calcium, vitamins A, B6, C, and K, and is a great source of iron. Top your salad with walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds to add texture, protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
As barbecuing won’t add calories to your food, it’s a great way of cooking. The smoky flavour that comes from cooking over coals can make even plain grilled chicken exciting. But why not add a bit of seasoning or a marinade too – fresh herbs, lemon juice, mustard or chillies are all great ways of adding extra flavour.
Things taste better on skewers
Making your own kebabs is easy to do – just alternate threading chunks of your chosen meat (we like chicken breast) onto a skewer with fresh veggies like red onion, mushrooms, peppers, courgettes and cherry tomatoes. You could even add more protein by using prawns, halloumi or chorizo too.
If you’re feeling adventurous then you could try fruit – pineapple works well. And if you’re missing carbs then add slices of butternut squash or sweet potato along with your meat and veggies to make your kebabs extra filling.
Don’t be afraid of pork
Although you might think of pork as being a very fatty meat, there are certain cuts that are much better for you than others. A lean pork chop is great to throw on a barbecue, and can be leaner than a chicken thigh. Be sure to trim off any excess fat before cooking and brush with a homemade paleo barbecue sauce.
When you think of a burger you probably imagine a fatty fast food burger, or perhaps a bland supermarket brand burger – so making your own burgers is a great alternative. Choose either a lean beef mince or minced turkey, add onion, bread crumbs, oregano, chilli, cumin and coriander and bind using liquid egg whites if needed.
We’ve written before about the effects of alcohol and training, but there’s something about a hot, sunny day that just cries out for a beer or a cocktail to accompany your barbecue. So when drinking with friends in the sunshine, remember a couple of things:
– Drink with a plan. Don’t mix drinks and don’t drink literally anything that appears in front of you…
– Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration
– If cocktails are your thing then go paleo and visit paleococktails.com for some ideas.
Don’t beat yourself up if there are no other options
If you are the host of a barbecue then it’s easy to provide yourself with low calorie salads and good quality meat. But when you are a guest you can’t always request dishes that stick to your diet.
If you pick wisely you can limit the damage to your plan. Avoid bread by using large lettuce leaves to hold your meat, choose the leanest meats on offer and practise restraint in your portion control.
But if everything went out the window as you munched through a vat of coleslaw and inhaled several hotdog buns, don’t panic… Consider your barbecue blow out a cheat meal, and get back on track tomorrow!