Barbecue and balanced diet: a possible combination?

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

With the arrival of sunny days, barbecue season is officially open! With its share of fatty meats, sauces as good as they are oily and caloric drinks. A low-calorie cocktail ready to make us gain weight before we even put our swimsuits back on! Unless we follow the following tips to enjoy grilling without gaining a single gram.

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

Can we really imagine a diet barbecue?

It’s possible even if, on paper, it’s THE caloric meal par excellence. On average, it is estimated that when we take part in a barbecue, we eat 3000 calories… that’s huge!

To give you a point of comparison, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises not to exceed 2000 Calories per day for women, and 2500 Calories for men.

With its 3000 Calories, the barbecue explodes the counters and in just one meal!

However, there is no question of depriving yourself of good things and especially of a good time with family or friends.

So know that it is possible to enjoy the sun and the grill, while eating healthily.

meat and sausage grilling on the barbecue

How do we do it?

Let’s start with the heart of the problem, that is to say the meat that is grilled. It is one of the first sources of fat during a barbecue. We often eat too much, and we don’t always choose the right pieces (dietetically speaking).

You should know that from a caloric point of view, not all meats are equal.

Overall, red meat is approximately twice as fat as white meat.(on average it is estimated that red meat is made up of 13% fat / for white meat it is only 7%)

What is less known is that among red meats too, there are differences: rump steaks or fillets will be less fatty than what comes from ribs such as entrecote or brisket for example.

Small points on barbecue foods

What do you think of sausages?

It’s worse ! Sausages, whether chipolatas or merguez, are almost three times fatter than red meat!

These are processed meats, which are full of fat… This is probably why we love them so much.

And the fish?

Let’s focus on fish!

So why not offer tuna steaks, salmon fillets or delicious grilled sardines instead of the usual entrecôtes or merguez? It’s easy to make on the grill and just as good to eat.

And as a bonus you can enjoy the benefits of Omega-3, these good fats which improve our cardiovascular health.

And the vegetables?

Whether grilled, or just placed next to the barbecue, they are the best way to limit meat, while filling the stomach.

Tell yourself that, for a dietary barbecue, you ideally need 2/3 vegetables for 1/3 animal proteins, and therefore meat. It seems like a lot to say like that, but the advantage with vegetables is that you can put them anywhere…like on skewers for example or between two pieces of meat.

And the sauces?

Indeed, you will then have to pay attention to all the “ next to ”, like sauces.

The idea is not to eliminate them completely, they are part of a good barbecue, but to favor those which have the least calories. And here, I will be very clear: in this battle, our number 1 enemy is… mayonnaise! Because, even if it is a real delight (especially when it is homemade), mayonnaise is basically oil.

mayonnaise in a barbecue

Instead, it is better to favor tomato-based sauces, such as ketchup, or even yogurt-based. For example, with Greek yogurt, you can add a little lemon, parsley, chives and mustard and you will have a great, low-calorie sauce.

Same thing for marinades where we tend to add too much oil. It is quite possible to exchange the oil with soy sauce, mustard or simply a little lemon.

Here is a short video to make your sauces less caloric:

What about alcoholic drinks?

Indeed, alcohol is high in calories and does not hydrate us. Added to the heat, the risks of being dehydrated are great when you barbecue. The problem is that we don’t always know it, but dehydration…makes you hungry! Our body, not having what it needs, will try by all means to obtain water.

And the first subterfuge he will find is food nearby. This is why, when we are dehydrated, we eat more. My advice is to drink water regularly during a barbecue. And why not sparkling water with a slice of lemon if you like the sparkling side!

To sum up

For a diet barbecue:

  • You should limit fatty red meats and sausages.
  • Favor oil-free sauces.
  • To drink a lot of water .