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Better for you BBQ advice

Thankfully long gone are the days of a burnt burger in a bap, once served with the cry, ‘if it ain’t – it ain’t BBQ!’ Burnt food is bad for you, it doesn’t look or taste good, it certainly doesn’t do you any good either! Happily, the majority of today’s Barbi’s are the antithesis of the bad old burnt BBQ days.

Having a Barbi is a more relaxed and informal occasion then a normal meal and indeed the choice of food much more varied. In fact, you’ll probably get a wider choice of healthier food then you would indoors, with fish, lean meat, poultry, vegetable and even fruit all being high on the grill stakes!

There has been a major evolution in the type of food now cooked at the average BBQ, with a swordfish steak as likely to be served as a sausage, brochette or burger. In fact, we’ve become a nation of foodies and nowhere has this been more apparent than on the Barbi, where gastro-grilling now rules.

Proper preparation is very important, with a lighter more ‘au natural’ style the key, without heavy, fattening sauces or accompaniments. Marinating is also very important with the use of olive oil and balsamic vinegars, plus the addition of garlic and chilies good health pointers and also enhancing taste.

Even the way that barbecued food is cooked is healthier, with the idea that a BBQ is a ‘fat reducing machine’, being not too far from the truth, as fats tend to evaporate during the grilling process, which also enhances flavour. BBQ’ed food also arguably retains more nutritional content; so, grilling is good!

BBQ’s are actually the antithesis of fast food, not only is the choice and type of food healthier, but there is also the ‘chill & grill’ element of creating a relaxed environment. Also important is the fact that food is consumed slowly and not ‘on the hoof’, which in turn aids proper digestion.

The ever-growing sophistication of BBQ is probably the result of pressure from foodie friends and family to continually be able to offer an ever-wider choice tantalisingly healthy food. Another factor being most food looks great straight off the Barbi, with today’s grills being so much more user friendly.

Healthy lifestyle benefits don’t fizzle out at the grill-end, yes, it’s when you chill, that the final health advantages kick-in, as for many families the weekly alfresco meal is the one time, we’re able to, relax and catch-up on the latest. After-grill chillin’ is very beneficial to a relaxed state of mind.

Believe it or not spicy BBQ foods are healthy. Chilies have heart and anti-toxin benefits, the hotter the better! High Omega 3 foods like sardines, mackerel and tuna are real grill-stars. Vegetables naturally notch up health points as do fruits such as mango, papaya and bananas, all high in fibre and vitamins

Life alfresco isn’t all physiological there’s a healthy share of psychological benefits too. For most a BBQ is a form of emotional escapism, creating feelings of well-being and a desire for warmer, more relaxed climes, whether around the Med, or further afield in Australia, Caribbean the US West Coast, or South Africa. Barbi’s and alfresco living is here to stay and is genuinely better for you!