The great Australian BBQ is something unique to our culture. Unlike the love Aussie’s have for the great outdoors & backyard cricket, some our eating behaviours aren’t quite as endearing for our bodies. Stacks of sausage sandwiches with tomato sauce, plate size T-bone steaks, potato salads & coleslaws laden in creamy dressing topped off with pavlova, beers and wine are some of the mistakes made at our Australia Day events. Read on to see how you & your family can stay healthier at BBQs:
Don’t burn the meat!!
When meat is burnt or charred it develops substances called heterocyclic amines. They are produced in foods that are cooked at high temperatures when blackened or charred and have been linked to causing cancer. Turn down the heat and marinate your meat instead. This protects foods from charring and reduces potential cancer causing agents formed in the meat. It also infuses flavour and tenderises.
Go for the good stuff
Processed meats like bacon, pastrami, salami, hot dogs and some types of sausages have been classed as carcinogens, strongly linked to bowel cancers, Australia’s second highest cancer killer! Replace cheap sausages, cabanossi sticks and hot dogs with homemade extra lean mince chicken, turkey or beef burger patties and smaller cuts of lean steaks like fillets, porterhouse or cutlets. Better yet throw some shrimp (that’s prawns) and fish on the BBQ instead. Fish has been thought to reduce bowel, prostate and breast cancer.
Quality over quantity
Keep your portion sizes of lean red meat to the size of your palm. A 65g cooked portion of red meat is equivalent to one serving according the Australian Dietary Guidelines, roughly 100g raw. That means 1 small steak, 2 cutlets or 2 small lean sausages or 1 - 2 meat skewers. You are looking to balance out the rest of your plate, so that is has ¼ lean meat (not half), ¼ low GI carbohydrates and half vegetables with a drizzling of healthy fat containing dressing like olive oil, lemon juice and herbs.
Practical tip: Use your own palm as your meat measure.
Be alcohol wise
Alcohol is a very energy dense molecule, containing the second highest number of kilojoules than fat. A six pack of a regular lager (6 x 375mls) contains approx. 3780kJ/ 900kCal which is one third of a males entire daily energy needs! Cider and sweet pre-mixed drinks or cocktails are equally as potent because they have the alcohol plus sugars added.
If you choose to drink then opt for a shot of a clear spirit with a soda water/ diet mixer instead of beer & cider. If you’re a wine drinker then slow yourself down by finishing one glass at a time then chase it with a non alcoholic drink like some sugar free fruit flavoured mineral water.
Serve up salads with dressing on the side
Try and include three different coloured vegetables into your salads. Eating a variety of colours increases the amounts & types of antioxidants and phytonutrients. These help the body to protect against cancer causing cells and fight inflammation. Then replace creamy mayonnaise based dressings with low fat yoghurt, mustard and lemon juice or try balsamic vinaigrette. Try our festive quinoa, cauliflower and pomegranate salad recipe.
We are very lucky to live in a beautiful country that provides us with some outstanding food produce and opportunities to be active. Enjoy what being Australian means to you this year!
Stay happy and healthy!