The Nutritionist’s guide to BBQ food

Sun’s out, buns out – it’s time for burgers, blackened sausages and warm Pimm’s. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden in the city you must have dusted off those deck chairs and fired up the gas already this year. If not, you’ll be joining the likes of me in contributing to that awesome smelling Beach BBQ haze that’s unique to Brighton – THE real smell of summer. BBQs are a special occasion here in Blighty and kind of like Christmas – it feels like we need to eat ALL of the food.

Do you ever pile your plate up, eat waaay more than you want, feel like you’re going to explode and then spend the rest of the day feeling guilty and a bit gross? I have a 5 tips that are just for you:

1. Have a think about how hungry you really are – if you were eating at home today, would you be eating less? Tuning in to your hunger can help you to see how much food you really want and prevent you from feeling like you’re going to pop. If you’re still hungry afterwards, you can always have some more!

2. When you’re at the shops, have a think and pick some stuff that you really fancy. Try not to load up on stuff just because it’s there or on offer. Eye up your basket before check-out, is there a bunch of BBQ stuff you’re just buying for the sake of it in there?

3. Check in with yourself while you’re eating – how do you feel after all of those sausage baguettes? A bit stuffed? Now add in those beers – howsabout now? How much more would make you feel uncomfortable?

4. Don’t just go for the lower calorie options or fill up on salad if you don’t really want them – it probably won’t hit the spot and you’re more likely to feel deprived and end up eating more than you want or need later on. Why not try a variety of things that take your fancy? Balance your plate by picking something from each food group – protein, grains and starchy veg, fruit and vegetables, fats. Experiment and see what you like.

5. Have a taste of everything on your plate, if you don’t like it – don’t worry, you don’t have to eat it. We’re told from a young age to finish what’s on our plates. The thing is, you don’t actually have to. It might feel a bit weird leaving food at first but at least here you know there’s always going to be a seagull keen to finish it for you. Just by being a bit more aware of how hungry we are feeling, what we actually fancy eating or how we’re likely to feel can help avoid being overstuffed and feeling rubbish afterwards.

You know what, if you do end up fit to burst? Don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s just one meal, one day (or three times!) in one weekend and it’s not going to throw off the nutritional balance of your diet for ever. Enjoy it!

Sweet Chilli Butterbean Salad

This is a firm favourite at our BBQs and super-easy to chuck together if you’re short on time. It serves four as a side but just double up if you need more.

What you need:
400g tin butterbeans, rinsed & drained
Red onion
Red pepper, diced
Clove garlic, minced
Handful fresh basil – torn
Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sweet chilli sauce
Pinch of salt & pepper, to taste

Mix all together and keep in the fridge until needed. Best eaten the same day but it should last 2 days refrigerated in an airtight container.

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