Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your barbecue or alfresco meal doesn't pile on the pounds.
For flavour: choose from garlic, onions, chillies, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, wine, lemon juice, lime juice, tomato puree, Worcester sauce, fresh or dried herbs, a shake of your favourite spices and fat-free salad dressings.
Choose vegetable kebabs: salads (without creamy dressings), steaks and chicken but avoid mayo-filled pasta salads and bread! Always use light or extra light mayonnaise or dressings instead of the full-fat varieties. It would be hard to find anything lower than Hellman's Extra Light Mayonnaise for a creamy-style dressing. Some salads taste great simply with lemon juice and black pepper, or balsamic vinegar. You can now get white balsamic vinegar which is lighter and doesn't make everything go brown.
Always choose low-calorie/low-fat coleslaw: potato or pasta salads or make your own with low-calorie dressings as above. For jacket potatoes or desserts its worth remembering that full-fat fromage frais (8% fat) has almost half the fat content of half-fat creme fraiche (15%)!
Forget the oil drizzle: spray meat or fish lightly with oil before placing on the barbecue but never spray directly onto the barbecue. Oil doesn't tenderize meat, so leave it out of marinades. Enzymes in pineapple, kiwi and papaya break down protein so act as tenderizers lay the fruit side of peelings onto the meat if you don't want to use the whole fruit! Can also be used on chewy fish such as squid.
Alcohol can be very dehydrating, especially in hot weather, so always provide plenty of low-cal or sugar free drinks and mineral water and have plenty of ice to hand. Drink water too. On a hot day its easy to mistake thirst for hunger! And make sure you count how much alcohol youre drinking. It's easy to forget it has Checks too! Be wary of developing alcohol-induced slimmers Check counting amnesia!
If you are the guest and have no idea what has gone into the food, aim to limit the size and number of portions that you have!Plan ahead for going to barbecues or summer parties. A small snack eaten before you go will help you stay away from the dips and crisps.Remove skin from drumsticks and thighs more taste less fat.
Don't forget vegetables: most vegetables are delicious when barbecued, either cooked straight on the grill or wrapped in foil and thrown into the hot coals. Pop some sweetcorn on the barbie - forget the butter, sweetcorn is packed full of crunchy flavour. Try a shake of cayenne pepper to spice it up.
For a delicious BBQ pudding, wrap a banana in foil and cook in the dying embers of the BBQ sprinkle with cinnamon delicious! Freeze some grapes or chunks of banana for a nice refreshing snack. Make the kids ice-lollies with no-sugar or diet drinks and you can join in with a clear conscience.
For an even clearer conscience, check out the Scottish Slimmers Malcolm Allan range of burgers, mince and sausages - guaranteed to beef up any BBQ without the guilt!