We just heard you say, “A healthy braai, that’s still delicious and satisfying? Impossible!”
Wrong. We give you a few tasty tips for a low fat, energy boosting, but still lip-smacking experience that won’t send your cholesterol levels or blood pressure into orbit.
- Lean cuts
Delicious lean cuts such as fillet, pork, skinless chicken, ostrich, game or even fish infused with flavour from salt-free rubs and marinades, or a few fresh herbs over the coals, are far healthier options than fatty boerewors (as much as we love it). Remember to trim any visible fat before braaiing to reduce the risk of cholesterol or high blood pressure. Also, limit your portion of protein to the size of the palm of your hand for a balanced meal.
- Salt-free flavours
Salt-free marinades and rubs will also help you to manage your blood pressure and cholesterol. Use fresh herbs and spices, garlic, onions and lemon juice to enhance the flavour of meat, poultry, or fish. For tropical flair, consider honey, pineapple, or dried fruit such as apricots. Pineapple is also a natural meat tenderiser. If you need to use any oil, opt for olive oil.
- Curb the carbs
It wouldn’t be a braai without carbohydrates, but there are healthier options than potato salad smothered in high-fat mayonnaise, or white rolls which will leave you feeling sluggish. Choose tasty low GI (slow energy release) options such as sweet potatoes or baby potatoes baked over the coals in foil, or fibre-rich wholegrain or seed breads served with hummus or low-fat cottage cheese.
- Wise sides
Many a braai master may consider veggies “rabbit food” but consider veggie kebabs of peppers, mushrooms, onion, sweet corn, tomatoes, butternut, baby marrows…the combinations are endless. Marinade the kebabs for a delicious caramelised side, or drizzle with olive oil and add rosemary, garlic, or balsamic vinegar for flavour. Fill at least half of your plate with this good stuff!
You could also toss a couscous and roasted veggie salad together for an alternative to the usual green salad. Also try beetroot salad, carrot and pineapple salad, or three-bean salad. Three bean salad is both low GI and high in fibre.
Limit high fat, high calorie additions such as croutons, bacon, mayonnaise and high fat salad dressings.
- Sweet treats
Fruit skewers drizzled in honey and grilled for a few minutes over the coals is a delicious, healthy treat. Serve with fat-free yoghurt or low-fat custard. Bananas and dark chocolate wrapped in foil and warm over the coals is also great.
So, next time you light a fire to braai, consider what you’re going to eat. You can still enjoy a delicious, hearty meal, but one that good for you too, reducing the risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol and weight gain, and increasing your energy levels.
Bestmed encourages a healthy lifestyle for all. Don’t forget that all Bestmed members, who complete their Health Risk Assessment (HRA), have access to the Tempo wellness programme, which includes three consultations with a dietician per member/dependant 18 years and older, as well as 1 nutritional assessment for the whole family. HRAs may be done at the following participating pharmacies: Dis-Chem, Clicks, Van Heerden or Alpha Pharm.