As the summer finally arrives, what most of us enjoy is the smell of a barbecue, wafting over the fence and enticing us with its meaty scents that make our mouths water. Even better if we are hosting the barbecue ourselves and the delicious aromas are coming from our side of the fence. But a recent study has shown that we literally blow caution to the wind when we sit down to eat at barbecues, consuming massive amounts of calories and fat laden food, well over recommended daily levels.
The research, conducted by the now online store Woolworths.co.uk, revealed that in a typical sitting at a barbecue, men ate on average – two sausages, two burgers, two ribs, one and a half chicken legs, two kebabs, and one and a half jacket potatoes. Women on the other hand fared little better as they consumed two sausages, two burgers, one rib, one chicken leg, one kebab and one jacket potato. A man’s recommended daily calorie intake is around 2500 calories and for women just under at 2000 calories, but the portions and amount of food consumed typically at a barbecue sitting are approximately 2030 when you include fizzy drinks and alcohol. That means that a person is getting their entire calorific intake from just one meal and are also consuming high levels of fat and meat, around 3oz of fat which is nearly an ounce more each day than is recommended.
With national figures showing that at least one in four of adults in the UK alone are now classed as obese, should we seriously consider cutting out traditional barbecues from our summer activities? Nutritionist Jayne Wilson from the Scrummy Nutrition Centre does not think so saying, “Summer is a good time to change your eating habits but this doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy a barbecue.” With this in mind we have put together a tips list of what food to serve at your next barbecue to ensure you can stay healthy and not pile on the pounds whilst still eating great tasting food.
- Choose different low fat meats such as chicken, fish and seafood, rather than typically high fat content sausages and burgers.
- Don’t use sugar laden marinades but change them for yoghurt with herbs and chillies added.
- Correctly portion size by calculating how much your guests should eat on a normal meal sitting and buy the food accordingly.
- You don’t have to have several meat based main dishes, a simple fish dish cooked over the coals is much nicer with a seafood starter.
- Have fruit juices instead of calorie full fizzy drinks and mix alcohol with juices instead of lemonade or tonic water.
- Finally, have some sporty activity laid on after the barbecue to work off those pounds like a walk round the local woods or a session on the Wii fit.