Its Barbeque Time
1. Use the barbecue at the local park or beach for a summer family outing or as chance to catch up with some friends. Include a game of cricket or bat down with the kids to get them moving.
2. Barbecue corn: strip back the leaves and tie them to form a handle and brush the cobs with flavored oil such as garlic and chili or your favorite herbs.
3. Barbecue summer fruit for dessert, either on a kebab or just simply pop halved peaches, nectarines and slices of pineapple on to cook. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.
4. Make all kinds of kebabs; include meat, firm tofu, vegetables and fruit. But remember if you are using wooden skewers soak them in water for 30-60 minutes first so they don't burn!
5. Remember your ideal plate and portion sizes: 1/2 salad/vege; 1/4 carbs; 1/4 protein. There's often a lot of meat on offer at a barbecue, so you need to be selective about what you'll have. Help yourself do that by getting your salad or veges first.
6. Fragrant fish parcels: wrap fish fillets in tin foil with fresh herbs, lemon slices and a dash of olive oil. Sit on the barbecue hot plate for 15-20 minutes.
7. Swap high fat sausages for lean steak or ribs. You can also use a marinate such as a little oil, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to help add heaps of flavour.
Healthy Summer Snacks
8. Salsa and Guacamole are a great healthy dips. Serve with toasted pita or bagel crisps.
9. Refried beans are a great Mexican dip to serve; they are also high in protein and vitamins.
10. Sushi is a healthy and cost effective snack, and its delicious. Whats even better is that you can get most ingredients from local supermarkets.
11. Fruit and vegetable platters are always popular too. Use fresh seasonal summer fruits such as strawberries, cherries, watermelon, mango and grapes. Or add some vegetables such baby carrots or sliced carrot, sliced capsicum, cherry tomatoes and giant green olives.
12. Falafels (mini spiced chickpea patties) make great finger food and are so simple to make using one of the ready mixes. My favorite is Lisas, found in the chiller you can either cook them in a small amount of oil or oven-bake them. A simple dipping sauce with natural yoghurt and coriander works wonderfully with them.
Delicious Seasonal Vegetables
13. Tomatoes and capsicums are abundant in summer and are great when grilled on the barbecue you can then place in a plastic bag to cool, remove skins and freeze for winter pizzas, pasta sauces and casseroles.
14. Turn surplus tomatoes into chutney or pasta sauce.
15. Make salsa (chopped sauce) to serve with meats or salads. Include an onion ingredient; onion, spring onion, red onion; a fruity ingredient; tomatoes, peaches, tamarillos, mangos; a little acidity; lemon juice, lime juice; a bit of zing; fresh or dried chili or chili sauce to taste. Finally, add some herbs like coriander and mint.
16. Summer seafood platter: selection of king prawns, poached and smoked salmon, some chunks of brown bread and tartare sauce. Then stand back and watch
17. Mix equal amounts of Greek yoghurt with low-fat mayonnaise, add fresh lime juice and zest with plenty of chopped flat leaf parsley. Serve with all sorts of fish.
18. Spiced prawns: a yummy spicy marinade for king prawns, blend 3 tablespoons fresh coriander with a teaspoon of salt, 2 fresh green chilies, deseeded, the juice of 1 large lemon and 2 tablespoons oil. Pour the marinade into a bowl and add 20-24 cooked peeled prawns. Mix to coat well. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Thread onto skewers with a selection of vegetables. Cook on the barbecue for 5 minutes, turning frequently. Serve immediately.
Healthy Summer Drinking
19. Add plenty of ice to your drink. It's harder to skull an ice-cold drink and the ice displaces some of the more kilojoule-laden liquid.
20. Soda water is a great mixer because it's kilojoule-free. Add a dash of lime cordial and sip as a pre-dinner filler; it's better for your waistline than chippies, cheese and crackers. Tonic water, on the other hand, is just like soft drink. A 200ml gin and tonic has twice the kilojoules of a gin and diet tonic (500kJ compared to 250kJ).
21. Too hot for a cup of tea? Try iced tea instead. Make your own with tea bags, lemon slices and perhaps a little sugar. It's refreshing, stimulating and full of healthy flavonoids and antioxidants.
22. When you're standing around with a drink in your hand, it's easy to overdo it. If you alternate your drinks from the start one non-alcoholic (do this first so you're not thirsty) followed by one alcoholic it's easier to figure out when to stop!
23. The simplest, tastiest dressings can be just a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Tossed through lovely, fresh leaves and herbs, you won't even notice there's no oil.
24. Play around with different oils and vinegars, e.g. rice bran and nut oils, or balsamic vinegars. Using more interesting flavours means you can cut back on the amount of oil used.
25. Add amazing flavours to salads by adding slices of juicy fruit, such as orange, grapefruit and mango, and add their juice to dressings to add natural sweetness.
By Kali Brydon BSC Human Nutritionist