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BBQ, booze and burger buns - how can you eat clean this summer?

For those of us looking to eat clean, it can seem like summer is here to deliberately thwart our best efforts. From ice creams on the beach, lazy weekends spent enjoying a drink with mates and of course, the summer staple, the BBQ – staying on track can sometimes be a challenge.

However, the BBQ need not be your downfall, in fact, the BBQ is actually a great way to cook as there is very little need to add cooking oil!

If hitting the BBQ this summer you need not say goodbye to your best intentions, with a little organising it is easy to create a BBQ menu that will help you to carry on eating clean and enjoying that all important summer al fresco dining experience.

When choosing what to eat, lean white meat and fish should be your go-to and then your plate can be loaded up with fresh veg and leafy salads. Don’t forget, even everyday staples, such as carrots, when roasted on the grill and sprinkled with rosemary can take on a whole new flavour.

In fact, mixing up every day dishes; a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds in a garden salad and grilling watermelon slices on the BBQ (try it!), are easy ways to elevate your BBQ menu without ditching the clean eating.

To help you through the BBQ season, check out my do’s and don’ts…

DO: Ditch the beer, high in empty calories it will do your diet no favours. If you really want to relax with an alcoholic drink opt for a refreshing gin and slimline tonic. Add lime juice, a wedge of a lime and slice of cucumber for a low-cal taste of summer.

DON’T: Load up on bread. If you opt for a nice piece of meat do you really need to stick it within a bread bun? Let lean meat and plenty of salad fill you up instead of carbs.

DO: Avoid processed meats including sausages and burgers. Instead replace with white meat (you could make chicken or turkey burgers) and fish – sea bass is a particular favourite when grilled.

DON’T: Go mad with the condiments, often packed with hidden sugars and empty calories try to avoid sauces and dips wherever possible. If you can’t enjoy your meal without them opt for low sugar/ zero calorie options and use sparingly or, even better, make your own!

DO: Up your cruciferous veg intake. High in fibre and vitamin C, cruciferous veg such as kale, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, radish and watercress all make great BBQ sides.

DON’T: Use oil to cook/dress your food, if you need to cook with something, choose a pump of zero calorie cooking spray or coconut oil.

If, for whatever reason, you find yourself in the position where your clean eating ambitions have fallen by the wayside, don’t panic. Rather than beat yourself up over it, draw a line under it and resolve to start afresh, re-motivated to achieve your body and fitness goals.


Sam Yassin

With a degree in Sport and Exercise Science and coming from the country’s most elite sporting town, Loughborough, Sam Yassin is an experienced strength and conditioning coach. He is a member of the UKSCA and is currently working towards his full accreditation. Having passed his examination and LTAD (Long-term Athletic Development) case study, he is well on his way to becoming a gold standard S&C coach. Sam has long been involved in the sporting world, having competed in a wide range of sports from a young age, despite being born with bilateral talipes and having had more than 5 lower body surgeries. In his final year of university, he gained valuable insight into what it takes to be part of a professional team as he interned at Leeds United Football Club as a strength and conditioning coach.

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