Can BBQ Food Really Be Good For You? We review the latest products that seem healthier

As we make the most of the last summer heat, BBQs are on the menu – and supermarkets are stocked with plenty of healthy twists on traditional offerings.

We asked Ruth Kander, a nutritionist at the Fleet Street Clinic in London, to rate a selection; We then rated them based on taste.

As we make the most of the last of summer's warmth, BBQs are on the menu - and supermarkets are stocked with plenty of healthy options (pictured) from traditional offerings

As we make the most of the last of summer’s warmth, BBQs are on the menu – and supermarkets are stocked with plenty of healthy options (pictured) from traditional offerings

High in omega-3

Waitrose 4 Asian-inspired salmon burgers, 360g, £4.25,

Per 100g: Calories, 209; saturated fat, 1.9 g; protein, 19.1 g; sugar, 0.5 g; salt, 0.53 g

Claim: “High in omega-3.”

Expert Verdict: These easy burgers are 81 percent salmon. Pea flakes are used instead of breadcrumbs to add texture to the burgers. There are also herbs and spices like cilantro, ginger, and lemongrass, plus lime juice — and nothing else.

Fish is a healthy choice for grilling because it contains less saturated fat than red meat. Oily fish like salmon has the benefit of being high in omega-3 fats, which has been linked to a reduction in heart disease, inflammatory disease, and some cancers.

The NHS recommendation is that we eat at least two 140g servings of fish a week – one of which should be oily. Two of these little burgers count as a generous helping of oily fish and pack in a whopping 31.6g of protein – about as much as one chicken breast – which should help fill you up.

Made from dried peas, pea flakes are a source of fiber (about a tenth of your daily needs in two burgers) and protective antioxidants and minerals.


Taste test: Strong aromas of lemongrass, ginger and chili. 7/10

Waitrose 4 Asian inspired salmon burgers

Waitrose 4 Asian inspired salmon burgers

Flexible choice

Heck 60/40 Chicken, Mushroom & Wild Rice Chipolatas, 340g, £3, in select Tesco stores

Per 100g: Calories, 124; saturated fat, 1.3 g; egg white, 16 g; sugar, 1.2 g; Salt, 1.8g

Claim: “Made with 60 percent meat and 40 percent vegetables. High in protein and gluten free.”

Expert opinion: Such “flexitarian” products, in which a significant part of the meat content has been replaced by plant-based foods, are a good idea.

Chicken and vegetable proteins are useful substitutes for red meat because they are low in saturated fat.

There’s also a good helping of high-fiber wild rice, mushrooms, pea flour (a source of protein and fiber), and some cheese.

While these don’t contain a lot of ultra-processed ingredients, like most sausages, these contain preservatives — and are high in salt. Three of these sausages provide around 21 percent of your daily salt limit.


Taste test: Subtle chicken and garlic taste. 7/10

Strengthen gut bacteria

Tiba Tempeh Smoky Bbq Burger, 200g, £3.49,

Per 100g: Calories, 236; saturated fat, 1.5 g; protein, 22 g; sugar, 7g; salt, 0.35 g

Claim: “Packed with protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. More protein than most beef burgers.”

Tiba Tempeh Smoky Bbq Burger

Tiba Tempeh Smoky Bbq Burger

Expert Verdict: These burgers are made with tempeh — fermented, cooked soybeans that have been marinated in a simple barbecue sauce.

Soy is one of the few complete plant proteins, which means that – like meat – it contains all nine essential amino acids needed for healthy bones and muscles. It also has useful amounts of vitamin B12 (for red blood cell formation), which can be hard to find if you don’t eat animal products. It’s also a source of protein – 22g in one burger; similar to the amount in a regular beef burger – to keep you feeling full for longer.

Tempeh is a good source of prebiotic fiber, which can help nourish the healthy bacteria in your gut.

There is also a simple ingredients list. The only downside is that each burger contains a teaspoon and a half of sugar, some of which have sugar in the sauce.


Taste Test: Good, smoky barbecue sauce flavor. 8/10

High protein content

Richmond Meat Free Sausages, 336g, £2.70,

Per 100g: Calories, 145; saturated fat, 4 g; protein, 8.8 g; sugar, 0.7 g; Salt, 1.8g

Claim: “Lots of protein.”

Expert Review: A diet high in processed red meat like pork sausages and beef burgers has been linked to a higher incidence of colon cancer — so these meat-free sausages with textured soy protein are a good idea.

Although the manufacturer claims they’re high in protein, they have the lowest protein content per 100g of the products here – so they’re probably not as filling.

The first ingredient on the list is water, and there are some processed ingredients. The salt content is also high. Two sausages are 1.4g – a fifth of your daily limit.


Taste test: Well seasoned. 7/10

Reduced fat

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Skinny Beef Burger, 227g, £2.75,

Per 100g: Calories, 150; saturated fat, 1 g; protein, 27.1 g; sugar, 1g; salt, 0.85 g

Claim: “Less than 3 percent fat.”

Expert Verdict: These are 33 percent smaller than a regular Taste the Difference Burger. Made from 85 percent lean beef, gram for gram, they also have about 80 percent less saturated fat.

One burger provides 30.5g of filling protein, significantly more than most of the other products here. Due to the lower fat content and smaller serving size, these also have half the calories of the regular version.

Beef is an excellent source of iron. NHS guidelines suggest eating no more than 70g of red meat a day – one of which is just over. The ingredient list is short, but there are a few preservatives and you’re getting 13 percent of your daily salt limit in one serving.


Taste test: Nice and peppery, but a bit dry. 6/10

fiber source

Heura Chorizo ​​Burger, 220g, £3.50,

Per 100g: Calories, 162; saturated fat, 3.3 g; egg white, 15 g; sugar, 0.9 g; salt, 1.1 g

Claim: “100 percent plant-based. Rich in protein, iron and vitamin B12. source of fiber.”

Expert Verdict: These vegan burgers are a blend of soy protein, olive oil, plant fiber, flavorings and coloring. You get a moderate amount of filling protein – 16.5g – in one burger. Iron and vitamin B12 have been added, which is good because these nutrients — vital for healthy red blood cells and energy — can be harder to come by if you don’t eat animal products.

There’s 7.48 mg of iron per burger — 85 percent of the recommended daily allowance for a man and about half for a woman — plus nearly all of your daily needs for vitamin B12.

There’s 5.5g of fiber, more than one-sixth of your daily requirement, from the added plant-based fiber. But there’s also about a sixth of your salt limit and a few processed ingredients. 6/10

Taste test: “Meaty” texture but needs more seasoning. 7/10


“Virtuous Flesh”

Highland Game Venison Burger, 227g, £2.80,

Per 100g: Calories, 132; saturated fat 1.8 g; egg white, 18 g; sugar, 0.9 g; salt, 0.74 g

Claim: “Lean, gluten-free.”

Expert verdict: That’s 66 percent venison, plus 11 percent pork, pea and rice flour, spices and preservatives. Venison is a lean red meat with about one-sixth the saturated fats found in beef, one-third fewer calories, and slightly more protein than other red meats. Venison is also high in heart-friendly conjugated linoleic acid, iron, and B vitamins.

The pork adds saturated fat, but these have a fairly simple ingredient list, moderate fat content, and lower salt and calories than some of the other products.


Taste test: Strong taste of meat, with lots of black pepper. 6/10

…And the healthier condiments that you can really enjoy

Dietitian Ruth Kander selects five BBQ spices. Then we tasted them.

Hunter & Gather Sriracha Egg Free Mayo

250g, £4.05,

Per 100g: Calories, 656; saturated fat, 10.9 g; protein, 0.1 g; sugar, 0.5 g; salt, 0.83 g

Made with 73 percent olive oil — a heart-healthy fat — and no added sugar or preservatives, it’s also free from the top 14 allergens, including gluten. Like most mayos, it’s high in calories from the oil.

Palate: Smooth with a gentle chilli kick.

Sauce Shop Unsweetened Tomato Ketchup

260g, £2.99,

Per 100g: Calories, 61; saturated fat, 0 g; protein, 2.69 g; sugar, 8.23 ​​g; salt, 1.56 g

Unlike regular tomato ketchup and burger sauces, this one has no added sugar. I like the simple ingredients: 87 percent tomatoes, onions, white grape vinegar, garlic, sea salt, and spices — and nothing else. It’s quite high in salt, but the amount per tablespoon serving is small.

Flavor: Naturally sweet tomato flavor with a mild spicy note.

Bay’s Kitchen Smoked Paprika BBQ Sauce

275g, £3.95,

Per 100g: Calories, 123; saturated fat, 0 g; protein, 1.6 g; sugar, 24 g; salt, 2.1 g

This is low in carbohydrates (known as FODMAPs), which some people with IBS find difficult to digest. The key ingredient, tomato passata, is a good source of the antioxidant lycopene, which protects cells from damage, and contains almost a third less sugar than some BBQ sauces.

Taste: Delicious spicy sauce packed with smoky paprika flavor.

Bath Culture House kimchi ketchup

Bath Culture House kimchi ketchup

Bath Culture House kimchi ketchup

250 g. £4.59,

Per 100g: Calories, 28; saturated fat, 0.1 g; protein, 1.5 g; sugar, 2g; Salt, 1.8g

This is made from raw, chopped Chinese cabbage and other fermented vegetables, so it may be beneficial for gut bacteria (which, in turn, have been linked to a healthier immune system and other benefits). The salt level (the same as regular ketchup) shouldn’t be a problem if portions are kept small. There is no added sugar.

Taste: Lively, with ginger and chili heat.

The bay leaf beetroot horseradish relish

300g, £3.75,

Per 100g: Calories, 87; saturated fat, 0 g; protein, 0.9 g; sugar, 19 g; salt, 0.01 g

This relish is 46 percent beetroot and high in nitrites, which can be beneficial for blood pressure. It has about a third less sugar than some supermarket relishes and no added salt.

Flavor: Deliciously sweet with a dash of horseradish. Can BBQ Food Really Be Good For You? We review the latest products that seem healthier

Bradford Betz

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