5 ways to enjoy that BBQ & still manage your weight

So after my blog post on managing your weight over the summer last week I thought I would go into a bit more detail about managing those BBQs.  If you missed last week’s post, check it out by clicking here.

A lot of people enjoy a good BBQ during the warm weather – it’s fun to eat outdoors and enjoy your garden, particularly if you’ve been cooped up in an office all day.  However BBQs can be a nightmare for your waist-line, unless you plan what you’re going to eat.  Here are my top tips for enjoying that BBQ while still managing your weight:

1.   Add some veggies

Include some veggies and try to eat them first to help you fill up quicker.  You could try making some veggie kebabs as side dishes – just think about the sauces or marinades you use.  Watch out for chilli sauces and BBQ dips/marinades as they can be loaded with extra sugar (and therefore extra energy) without you realising it.

2.   Watch out for the salad dressing

Crispy salads make a good accompaniment and contribute towards your 5-a-day – approx 80-100g of salad leaves is one of your 5-a-day.  Just don’t forget if you smother that salad with mayo, salad cream or an oily dressing, you are literally piling on Calories, and remember excess energy results in fat stored on your body (that’s the bottom line of weight management).  A herby dressing based on vinegar is a good option if you want to flavour your salad without adding lots of extra Calories.

3.   Avoid having loads of meat

Sometimes people can get carried away with wanting a little of everything – a burger and a sausage and a chicken kebab and some ribs…  Of course if you have a bread roll with each one, it can really add up and before you know it you’ve had several days worth of carbohydrate and protein in just one meal!  Think about what you fancy most and stick to that, then don’t keep going back for more.

4.   Think about the carbs

If you’re having a bap with that burger – do you really need to have chips or a jacket spud as well?  A lot of people think that carbs cause us to be overweight, but as with all food it’s about how much you have.  Most people only need around a couple of handfuls of carbohydrate with each meal – that’s one standard burger-bap (or two slices bread).  Think about what you have with the carbs too; obviously chips have added fat, even if they’re oven chips – that crispy coating has to come from somewhere.  Do you need both ketchup AND butter on your bread roll – remember they both provide energy and little else.  That potato salad covered in mayo will give you loads of extra energy compared to just a plain baked spud.  If you’ve already opted for the bread, maybe you could go for the green salad alongside, instead of the potato/rice/pasta option?

Do you really need a bread roll with every burger/sausage?
Do you really need a bread roll with every burger/sausage?

5.   Drink plenty of fluids

When it’s warm we need to drink more to stay hydrated and keep our body working properly (including burning fat properly).  If you’re at a BBQ with friends it can be easy to get carried away drinking just alcoholic drinks or lots of sugary drinks.  These in themselves can rack up the Calories, but also have other implications.  If you’re drinking only alcohol then you risk getting dehydrated which can get serious quite quickly when it’s hot.  It will also leave you more likely to pick at the food and less likely to keep track of how much you’ve had.  Not to mention the hangover the next day which leaves you less inclined to go to the exercise class you’d planned to go to and more likely to go for further inappropriate food choices.  How about alternating the alcoholic drinks with a glass of water or a low-Kcal soft drink?


I hope you found that useful.  If you could do with a bit of help managing your weight this summer, I’d love to work with you – click here for more information.

Louise Tanner-Stokes
Hi I'm Louise, a Food Relationship Coach and registered Dietitian with a passion for helping mums to ditch the diets for good. I want to help you feel good about yourself, feel in control of your eating and enjoy your food again - normal food and especially the cake and chocolate!

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