6 Ways to Host a Gut-Loving BBQ

6 Ways to Host a Gut-Loving BBQ

If you’re anything like us barbecue season is in full swing (weather permitting). We asked Gastroenterology Dietitian Dr Sammie Gill for her top tips when it comes to hosting a gut-loving barbecue. Happy grilling!

1. Keep it colourful

Grill some veggie skewers (red onion, baby corn, peppers, tomatoes), sprinkle on fresh herbs and combine with halloumi or feta cheese. If you have a sensitive gut, choose veggies that are less likely to trigger symptoms such as green and red peppers, tomatoes, and aubergine.

For dessert, try Eton mess with lots of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, or warmed banana with melted dark chocolate and nut butter (wrap in tinfoil on leave on the BBQ for 10 minutes). If you have a sensitive gut, try a citrus-themed Eton mess using pineapple, mandarins, oranges, clementine, and passion fruit. Delicious.

For super salads that can definitely be the star of the show, take your pick from this No Tuna Niçoise, Guacamole Salad, or a crowd-pleasing Greek Salad.

For a DIY dressing, here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

  • If you want a creamy base, use a natural yogurt.
  • If you want a sweet base, add a dash of honey or maple syrup.
  • Squeeze in lemon or lime juice for added zing!
  • Add lots of herbs, and finely chopped onion, garlic, ginger or chilli.
  • Mix it up with different oils – sesame, EVOO, rapeseed.

    2. Dip away

    Dips are a great way to up your plant points. Add some guacamole, tomato salsa, smokey aubergine, roasted red pepper dip, or houmous.

    If you have time, make your own. Our current go-tos include this Creamy Roasted Aubergine Dip by Deliciously Ella or Emma Hatcher’s trio of plant-based dips. Pair with sliced cucumber or wholegrain crackers for an extra fibre boost.

    3. Mix up meats

    Chicken, salmon, and lean cuts of steak are all good choices – remember to marinate the night before for extra flavour and more plant points – use EVOO, lots of herbs and spices (e.g. rosemary, oregano, parsley, sage, paprika, chilli flakes, onion and garlic powder).

    Include some new additions such as BBQ cauliflower wings or ‘steaks’.

    Sausages are often a must for a BBQ, but nutritionally they vary a lot. Go for the reduced fat versions or why not try chicken sausages for a change and mix up with veggie versions too.

    Try swapping out beef burgers for turkey burgers, boneless chicken thighs, or a mushroom patty.

    For the buns, go for wholemeal. As a minimum, go for the white but seedy versions.

    4. Drink but think!

    Alcohol is a well-known gut irritant and can trigger symptoms, especially if you have a sensitive gut. Here are a few things to try:  

    • Swap out strong beers/wines with a lower strength (Alcohol by Volume %; ABV).
    • Choose smaller sizes (e.g. bottled bear instead of pints).
    • Go for spritzers and single measures instead of doubles.
    • Make up some fruity mocktails and sparkling water infused with fruit pieces.
    • Try non-alcoholic wines and beers.

     5. Eat mindfully

    It’s not just what we eat that can impact gut health. It’s also how we eat. At a summer BBQ, it can be easy to overload your plate and eat just that little bit too much.

    This can make you feel uncomfortably full, sluggish and trigger unwanted gut symptoms - eating large volumes is a lot for your gut to handle in one go.

    Mindful eating is eating with awareness. It involves listening to your body signals on hunger, cravings, and fullness. Remember, it takes around 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your gut to feedback fullness signals to the brain.

    Remember to chew your food well. Ideally 10-20 chews per mouthful and put your cutlery down between mouthfuls to slow the pace of eating.

    6. And relax!

    If you’re feeling mentally stressed, the gut will feel physically stressed. This is because the gut and brain are intrinsically connected, called the ‘gut-brain axis’.

    Summer BBQs are the perfect opportunity to unwind and relax with friends and family – enjoy it!

    If you’re hosting, find some willing helpers and get all food prepped and ready the day before.

    Dig into more gut-loving recipes.