Barbecue gatherings with loved ones are a “national sport” for Poles from May long weekends to warm autumn evenings. Does a barbecue always have to be unhealthy? Not necessarily, if we prepare well for a barbecue, choose high-quality products and ensure the presence of fruit and vegetables on the plate, barbecue dishes can be good for our health and figure.
How to do that?
The most popular barbecue we use during the summer season is the charcoal-fired one. However, taking into account the health aspect, a better choice is to grill meat or vegetables using an electric or gas barbecue, or a barbecue pan is also an alternative. What concerns does a nutritionist have with traditional barbecuing? Roasting meat on the grill, because it is the meat that lands most often, starts to lose fat after contact with high temperatures. At first glance, this may seem beneficial as it “slims down” the sausage or neck of pork, but when the fat comes into contact with the glowing coals, numerous carcinogenic substances are produced. These volatile compounds then settle on the grilled products and eventually end up in our stomachs. To reduce this, it is extremely important to grill on special disposable trays or in foil. When grilling with electric or gas equipment, no harmful compounds are produced, so it is worth considering alternative grills.
What to grill?
Probably few people can imagine a barbecue without meat, but most accept a barbecue without vegetables. It’s time to change that! In summer, we have a huge range of vegetables that, once marinated, are perfect for toasting on the grill. Insofar they are important, as they provide antioxidants that neutralise the free radicals formed in the body from eating heavily browned food.
Vegetables for the barbecue include courgettes, squash, asparagus, peppers, various colours, mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, corncobs, onions, and garlic, preferably grilled whole heads.
What accompaniments for grilled dishes?
When choosing bread, make sure it is baked from wholemeal flour and you can also toast it on the grill. Baked potatoes are also a tasty option, but you may want to pre-cook them to make the grilling process go more smoothly. Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium and, accompanied by fish and half a plate of vegetables can make a nutritious and healthy dinner. It’s also worth ensuring that salads or sliced vegetables are prepared for the table, making them easier to reach for. Carrots, peppers or kohlrabi are ideal. Among fruit, cherries, blueberries or strawberries should be of interest as a healthy alternative to sweets. The season for Polish blueberries is underway, we have them of excellent quality, fresh, Polish, from July to September. They are the perfect topping for any good barbecue.
For more recipes for fruit on the barbecue, visit PolskieSuperowoce.pl/przepisy
What about ketchup and mustard?
Here, the devil is in the detail, it all depends on the composition, ideally, it should be short, understandable and not high in sugar ingredients. Dry jams for meats and vegetables from local processors are interesting in taste. Simple dips can also be made yourself, e.g., by combining thick yoghurt with grated cucumber, garlic and herbs. Instead of ketchup, tomato salsa works well. Simply scald a few tomatoes, cut out the core and chop the rest into small cubes, add basil and red onion, drizzle with oil and apple cider vinegar, and the salsa is ready. This is another way to introduce vegetables to barbecue gatherings.
To sum up, consider grilling with electric or gas equipment, it is safer for your health. If you are using a charcoal-fired grill then, firstly, use disposable trays and, secondly, only place trays of food on the grill once the fire starter has burned out.
Do not burn the food on the grill! Cook ingredients slowly over the embers and not at full heat. It has been proven that frequent consumption of burnt food increases the risk of stomach cancer by 3 times.
Marinate meat and fish yourself. Don’t buy ready-made ‘barbecue kits’. Use rapeseed oil, dried herbs, paprika powder and garlic.
In addition to meat, sausage and fish, grill vegetables. Marinate them in rapeseed oil and herbs beforehand.
Make sure salads, vegetables cut into bars and seasonal fruit are on the table.
Eat in moderation, control portions and fill half your plate with vegetables. Let this barbecue season be a healthy one!