Healthy eating: picnics and barbecues

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Picnics BBQSome simple ideas to help you eat your way towards a “sizzling summer”.

Whether you're planning a picnic in the park, or you've invited friends and family over for a relaxed Sunday barbecue, there are plenty of healthier food options that still pack lots of flavour.

The BBQ staples of sausages, steak and burgers can be given a fresh twist by swapping minced beef for leaner turkey mince, or grilling flattened chicken breasts instead of steaks. Shop-bought barbecue sauces can be full of sugar and salt, so we like using a dry spice rub (packed with chilli, paprika and dried herbs) to add a flavourful punch without too many calories. Also good are home-made marinades and glazes based on soy, citrus, ginger and garlic.

Mix things up by introducing plenty of fish and veggie options. We like throwing some slices of halloumi sprinkled with chilli flakes on the grill, fish wrapped in foil, or lovely chunks of fresh veggies and prawns on skewers. Corn on the cob is also great on a barbecue: just wrap it in foil first or grill it in its husk.

Similarly, don't rely on curled up sandwiches and tired looking sausage rolls for your summer picnic. What about making some lettuce wraps (ditching the bread) and swapping those cocktail sausages for bite-size falafels instead?

And if you want to cut down on the amount of fattening mayonnaise you're consuming, then why not make your own salads using lighter dressingsrather than relying on shop-bought coleslaw and potato salad? 

Online inspirations

There are some great ideas online out there to give you inspiration to create healthy BBC options. Lucy Parissi of Supergolden Bakes has a recipe for the ultimate turkey burger, a Thai-style salad where she swaps the traditional beef for leaner turkey, and a homemade coleslaw with a no-mayonnaise option (scroll down for the salad recipe).

Meanwhile Kate Ford of The Veg Space has a nice take on the meat-free sausage roll, using a good quality stuffing mix and some ready-made puff pastry. We also like the sound of her “reggae reggae”  spicy potato skewers and her ever-popular mini cheese and onion pasties.

Further reading

For more healthy eating ideas, take a look at the featured food blogs, or browse our healthier you section.  

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