Planning a BBQ this heatwave? MailOnline’s clever guide to save you 1,000 calories


If you were thinking about putting the barbecue away, think again. Britain is due to swelter in its second heatwave in weeks, with 33C (86F) peak temperatures forecast in parts of the southeast in the coming days.

But for those trying to watch their waistlines this summer, it’s worth noting that the average Briton consumes more than 3,000 calories at a BBQ, according to a survey by Weight Watchers.

That’s more than the NHS’ entire recommended daily intake for an adult man (2,500) and woman (2,000).

With fatty meats, calorie-laden marinades and sugary dressings, it’s easy to see why. Even the type of roll you use for your burger could be the difference between more than one hundred calories.

MailOnline has now devised a clever guide to save you up to 1,000 calories by a few simple food and drink swaps.

While beef burgers contain just 190 calories and a standard British pork sausage has around 139 calories, rolls can contain a whopping 270 calories and hot dog rolls have up to 202 calories

While beef burgers contain just 190 calories and a standard British pork sausage has around 139 calories, rolls can contain a whopping 270 calories and hot dog rolls have up to 202 calories

The burger to bun ratio is crucial

We all know that just one burger or sausage is never enough.

But you may not realise that the bread or bun you use could have just as many calories as their meat filling — or more.

While beef burgers typically contain around 190 calories and a standard British pork sausage has around 140, burger buns can contain up to 270 and hot dog rolls 200. 

Those who usually have burgers or sausages across two servings of bread could cut around 200 calories by stacking up their burgers or sausages into one roll — and feel just as full.

For those looking to consume as few calories as possible, they could have a bunless burger or sausages on the side.

A Scotch morning roll has just 130 calories. Calorie-counters should stay away from brioche burger buns, which are packed with sugar and usually much bigger.

Calories saved: up to 270 (swapping from two buns to one)

WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE? 

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count

• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain

• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on

• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options

• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts

• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day

• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide  

Why bread should fill you with dread

Bread rolls are a key part of any BBQ — providing a vehicle for burgers, sausages and chicken. 

So for Britons unwilling to give up the carbs, there are options with just half the calories.

Sainsbury’s brioche burger buns have a massive 270 calories per roll, Tesco’s ciabatta rolls have 238 and Sainsbury’s white jumbo hot dog rolls have 202.

But Tesco’s morning rolls have just 132, while ASDA’s sliced brioche burger buns (140) and Warburtons’ hot dog rolls (142) contain a fraction of the calories. 

Calories saved: up to 140 (swapping from high to low-calorie buns) 

Ketchup ALWAYS trumps mayo

Stuck choosing what condiment to douse your BBQ food in? Some sauces could be adding hundreds of extra calories to your meal.

A 15g serving (one tablespoon) of Heinz Tomato Ketchup has just 15 calories, dropping to just 7 calories if you opt for the no added sugar and salt option.

But those eating the same amount of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise are consuming 108 calories — seven times more than regular ketchup. The light option has just 40 calories per serving, although this is still twice as much as other condiment options.

Britons should also be alert to the other creamy sauce option, salad cream. It has 45 calories per serving, on average, and people typically add much more than that to salads.

With people often eating up to four or five more sauce than the recommended serving size — they could be consuming more calories of condiments than they are of burgers and sausages.

However, along with ketchup, a 15g serving of other BBQ favourites, including Heinz BBQ sauce (21 calories), HP sauce (18 calories) and Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli sauce (27 calories) aren’t packed with too many calories.

Lots of sauces can contain more calories than Britons believe and can be packed with sugar, so shoppers should be alert.

Calories saved: up to 280 calories (swapping three tablespoons of mayonnaise for ketchup)

Smart starter choices

Any good BBQ host will put out a spread of crisps, nuts, breadsticks and hummus while the main course is grilling.

But filling up on calorie-dense and salty snacks can see Britons consume hundreds of extra calories before the grill is even hot.

Walkers Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli Crisps have 142 calories per 30g, while the same about of Doritos Cool Original have 149 and Salt & Vinegar Pringles have 154.

Meanwhile, 30g of salted peanuts have around 180 calories, each breadstick typically has 25 calories and a quarter of a tub of hummus has around 200 calories.

Dr Duane Mellor, a dietitian at Aston Medical School in Birmingham, suggested a simple way of cutting calories at BBQs is to bring out simple salads first ‘ahead of nibbles like crisps and nuts’.

This would see more people ‘start to fill up on the healthier foods first leaving less room for the higher calorie and fat foods later’, he told MailOnline. 

Professor Gunter Kuhnle, an expert in nutrition and food science at the University of Reading, told MailOnline that hosts should think about the amount of food they buy and prepare as it’s ‘very easy to overdo this on a BBQ as one wants to have choice’.

But this leads to people eating ‘more than necessary – simply because the food is there’, he said. ‘Adding low-calorie foods such as salads could also help,’ Professor Kuhnle added.

Calories saved: up to 150 (swapping peanuts for salad)

Watch portion size on sides

Many may assume some sides like coleslaw, potato salad and pasta salads are healthy because they are packed with vegetables.

However, go-to BBQ sides can have nearly as many calories as the most calorie-packed burger buns.

Tesco Finest Coleslaw and ASDA’s Extra Special Coleslaw each have 215 calories per 100g, while Sainsbury’s version has 200 calories.

Meanwhile, Tesco Finest Spinach Pine Nut Pasta has 272 calories per 100g, ASDA’s Pesto & Pine Nut Pasta Salad contains 227 calories and Sainsbury’s Pesto & Parmesan Pasta has 205.

For potato salad, Tesco’s version has 180 calories, Sainsbury’s has 177 and ASDA’s has 142. 

Dr Mellor suggested that Britons could instead have a base of an undressed green salad on their plate and add smaller portions of dressings and sauces.

Calories saved: up to 200 (swapping coleslaw for salad) 

Dr Mellor told MailOnline that he would encourage Britons to add jugs of iced water with fruit added to their BBQ spread as it can be 'hard to find "grown up drinks" that aren't alcohol or containing calories'

Dr Mellor told MailOnline that he would encourage Britons to add jugs of iced water with fruit added to their BBQ spread as it can be ‘hard to find “grown up drinks” that aren’t alcohol or containing calories’

Ice water with fruit instead of sugar-packed soft drinks

Fizzy drinks such as Coca-Cola, lemonade and sparkling fruit-based drinks are an essential at British BBQs. 

But can be packed with calories and sugar.

A 330ml can of Coca-Cola has 139 calories per can, while the same serving of Schweppes Lemonade has 59 and Old Jamaica Ginger Beer has 66. And a 250ml serving of Bottlegreen Elderflower Sparkling Presse has 78 calories, while a bottle of J20 has 52 calories.

Dr Mellor told MailOnline that he would encourage Britons to add jugs of iced water with fruit added to their BBQ spread as it can be ‘hard to find “grown up drinks” that aren’t alcohol or containing calories’.

Professor Kuhnle told MailOnline that those drinking alcohol could also swap to the drink.

He said: ‘Beer is probably one of the main calorific foods people consume at BBQs, especially when it is very hot and the beer is cold. 

‘Swapping it for water or at least non-alcoholic beer could help a bit, although non-alcoholic beer won’t make a huge difference.’

The switch would avoid Britons loading their BBQ meal with sugar, which is linked to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Calories saved: up to 280 calories (swapping fizzy drinks for water)

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk