Personal Trainer, Liverpool Street

How to stay healthy at a BBQ

How to stay healthy at a BBQ

Sniff.  Sniff.

Smell that?  

It’s Barbecue season!

Barbecue season is an opportunity to hang out with friends and family, gather in the garden or on a beach to play awesome lazy-man games and indulge in disgusting food and beverage choices…resulting in bloated waistlines and Monday morning misery.

Wait, what?

With Summer in full swing I’d guess you’ll be ending up at a bunch of outdoor parties over the next few months.  If you’re a fitness fanatic or just interested in making healthier food choices, it’s often tough to do so at a typical barbecue as you’re oftentimes surrounded by nothing but unhealthy options.

Don’t worry we are here to the rescue!

Here’s a foolproof plan to enjoying yourself at a barbecue, keeping your friends and stomach happy, and allowing you to stay healthy all summer long!

If it’s a typical barbecue, then “meat” should be the main course.

Personal Trainer, Liverpool Street

You know what that means? Protein 

If it’s a BYOM (bring your own meat) BBQ, you’re golden.  Steak is a fantastic choice on the BBQ and is packed full of muscle building protein. However, if you’re throwing the party or you want to bring enough food to share with others, nicer cuts of meat like steak can get expensive (especially if they’re grass fed).

Steak that’s not grass-fed will be a less-healthy option, but still light years ahead of the alternative: pasta salads, mystery-meat hot dogs, and Iceland burgers.

But WAIT! There’s more!

This fantastic “meat on a stick” concept works great for other cuts of meat, i.e. chicken, pork, and sausage – any meat that’s not ground, really.

Score some major points by adding some variety to the standard ‘chicken on a stick’: cold, with different sauce options (BBQ, guacamole, or sriracha), or with different seasoning – nutritious, delicious, and very easy to eat.  Just don’t poke your eye out.

But that’s just meat – you can skewer the hell out of anything you put your mind to!  

Skewer veggies and even fruits like summer squash, courgette, mushrooms, pineapple, either with meat or solo.

If you’re a seafood fan, a prawn cocktail skewer will show your friends that you’re a real catch.


Looking for some non-meat options?  Devilled eggs can be a huge party hit with the right crowd, but if you don’t have time to make a healthy mayo, try Guacamole Devilled Eggs.

Deviled eggs not your thing? Butternut squash and sweet potatoes can serve as a good replacement for regular potatoes and other starchy sides.

BBQs are notorious for having salads of every type, most of which are salads in name only: Fruit salad, pasta salad and potato salad. Except for the fruit salad, none of these are really healthy.

Personal Trainer, Liverpool Street

The word ‘salad’ used as a suffix does not make the dish healthy.

Why not actually bring a HEALTHY salad?   Here are a few you can whip up in a matter of minutes:

And if you’re absolutely desperate for potato salad (is anybody ever really desperate for potato salad?), go with sweet potato salad instead.

Get creative with your snacks

Looking for some healthy snack options to snack on while playing rounders?

How about some Ants on a Log?  You know, celery with almond butter and either raisins or dried cranberries stuck on them…which looks like…wait for it…ants on a log!  Trust me, these bad boys are a huge hit – they’re not only delicious and easy to eat with your fingers, but they remind people of when they were five.

What about crisps? Are there healthy crisp options?

Try Kale Chips or  Spicy Sweet Potato Chips and dip them in guacamole.  

Choose your booze wisely

I know, there’s nothing better than kicking back with a few ice cold beers or fun cocktails while sitting on the decking with your loved ones as the sun sets.

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If you are going to drink at a barbecue, go into it with a plan: Instead of blindly pounding whatever drink is placed in front of you, make smart conscientious decisions earlier in the day and follow that plan through to the end.

For example:

  • I’ll drink a bottle of water in between every alcoholic beverage.
  • I can have one drink per hour; not fourteen.
  • I’ll be slowly sipping on this Paleo Margarita (tequila on the rocks with lime juice), thank you very much!

Now, I won’t tell you to abstain from drinking; if you feel the need to consume sixteen beers and five shots of tequila to enjoy yourself, that’s your decision.  I’m not your dad!  Let’s assume, however, that you’re not going to be drinking yourself into a stupor, but still plan on having a few adult beverages – this next part is for you:

The reason that drinking at a barbecue can be Bad News is that in addition to the liquid calories you’re getting from the alcohol, you might also choose to consume RIDICULOUS amounts of empty calories from chips, sausages, popcorn, sweets, burgers, and/or whatever processed foods you can get your hands on.

Rather than stuffing your face with unhealthy foods while drinking, stuff your face with HEALTHY options so you don’t even need to think about the unhealthy stuff.

author: Matt Williams


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