All those temptations make it difficult to keep up with your healthy eating plan.  We’ve put together the best tips for keeping you on track.

With the scent of barbecues shimmying through the summer air on those weekend jogs, its time to get outdoors and light our ‘Bear Grylls’. Eating Al fresco is one of the best things about the summer months, the nights are brighter and longer and the population has more of a sunny disposition. With all those burgers, beers and jovial spirits (not the alcoholic kind) how do we avoid the temptation? ‘Lettuce’ guide you through these sizzling tips, you’ll be having your burger and eating it too. We may even throw in a couple of barbecue recipes…

Tip 1 – Have a healthy snack before turning up to a BBQ

Don’t show up to a BBQ starving. This mainly applies if you have a fat loss goal. To avoid the temptation of indulging in the mayo laden potato salad, try eating a handful of nuts and seeds or vegetable crudités and hummus before you head to the BBQ.   It sounds simple but the little ‘snack’ will ensure that you don’t have eyes bigger than your belly.

Tip 2 – Make sure to fill your plate with greenery

By filling up on healthful salad and vegetables you’ll be fuelling your body with the nutrients it deserves. You’ll also be counteracting the inflammation barbecuing can cause. You can find a couple of healthy side dish recipes at the bottom of the article.

Tip 3 – Switch it up

The music is playing, you’re having a laugh with you’re friends, the burgers are nearly ready… but this is one BBQ Bun Jovi is not invited to. Carbohydrates are essential to life but if you are not expending the energy, an insulin spike is induced and your body will store the energy as fat. The insulin spike will in turn inhibit the release of Glucagon, a hormone that allows body fat to be released into the blood stream and then burned by your muscles as energy. Try swapping the simple carb of a bun for a couple of delicious lettuce leaves; believe it or not it will still be deliciously satisfying. There are some better lettuce varieties than others for this, try Butterhead Lettuce, the leaf is flexible, perfect for wrapping! Instead of mayonnaise try some bio-live Greek or natural yogurt. Not only will you be avoiding the nasty preservatives and hydrolysed vegetable fats found in bought mayo, you will also be consuming a good helping of immune boosting probiotics.

Tip 4 – Keep the char to a minimum

That charred BBQ flavour is delicious but less is definitely more in this instance. Heterocyclic amines are formed when protein rich meat is exposed to extreme heat on an open flame. The smoke contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; the combination of the two chemicals has been known to cause cancer – according to Harvard Medical School. Marinating your food reduces the formation of these chemicals (it will also make it extra tender and tasty). Make sure to clean the BBQ well to remove the stuck on charred bits, this can be done by rubbing over half an onion or lemon, the acidity helps to break them down.

Tip 5 – Infuse your water

Gin and Tonic is difficult to turn down on a summer’s day, as is a nice iced glass of lemonade or Coca-Cola. I’m not saying you have to cut the alcohol completely but why not try it with a vitamin-full, refined sugar and preservative free infused water from our recipe. You can drink the water on it’s own too, it’s refreshing and delicious.

Barbecued Lamb Souvlaki with Avocado Tzaziki and Greek salad Serves 6-8

Lamb is a great choice for a BBQ because it can be eaten rare.

For the Lamb marinade

1kg diced lamb or lamb leg/shoulder cut into 1 inch cubes

4 Tbsp rapeseed oil/olive oil

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 large lemon

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tap dried rosemary

½ tsp cumin

2 cloves garlic crushed

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl or strong food bag.
  2. Add lamb and marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.

For the Skewers

Metal or wooden skewers (soak the wooden skewers for 10 minutes in boiled water)

1 red pepper cut into chunks

1 red onion cut into chunks

Large lettuce leaves to serve

Method

  1. Skewer the chunks of lamb onto the skewers alternately with onion and pepper chunks.
  2. BBQ for 10 minutes or until cooked to your liking.

For the Avocado Tzatziki

1 Avocado

300g Thick Greek yogurt

1 small bunch mint chopped

½ cucumber seeds scraped out

1 clove garlic crushed or grated

1 Tbsp or more of lemon juice

Method

  1. Food process or smash the Avocado and Greek yogurt
  2. Grate the cucumber or chop finely and add to yogurt mix.
  3. Stir through the garlic and 1 tbsp lemon juice, add more to taste.

Greek Salad

1 Romaine lettuce chopped

1 bag baby spinach

2 handfuls baby plum/cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cucumber, chopped

Handful of Kalamata olives, stones removed and halved

½ red onion, sliced

Feta cheese crumbled on top (optional)

Dressing

1 tsp oregano

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method

Toss everything together until it is coated in the dressing. If prepping the salad ahead keep the dressing separate until ready to serve.

Raspberry, lime and mint Infused water

Mint is an excellent digestive aid, raspberries are a good source of vitamin C, K and magnesium, refreshing and cleansing on a hot day.

1 Punnet of raspberries

1 bunch of fresh mint

1 lime, sliced

1 ½ litres sparkling water

1 tsp maple syrup or raw runny honey

ice to serve

Method

Add all of the ingredients to the bottom of a pitcher and muddle a little to release the flavours. Pour in the water and you have yourself a refreshing soft drink or mixer.