Healthy barbecue recipes that could help you shed those lockdown pounds  💥💥

A big family barbecue, an alfresco lunch to mark a special occasion or a simple outdoor meal with neighbours … these are summery gatherings that many of us have longed for throughout the dark winter days of lockdown.

‘There is something about lingering over an alfresco meal that makes an occasion uniquely relaxing and enjoyable,’ says Julia Westgarth, head of programme at WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers.

But if you’ve resolved to shed unwanted pounds you gained during lockdown and transform your health and fitness, you’ll also, understandably, be keen to ensure that social gatherings don’t scupper your weight loss goals.

The good news is that the fresh vegetables, salads and berries, as well as the seafood and lean meats that we love to serve at summer buffets or barbecues, are also great for your health and waistline.

Fruit and vegetables are ZeroPoints on all myWW+ colour plans, and lean meat and seafood have either low or no SmartPoints, depending on which colour plan you’re on.

‘This makes it easy to relax and tuck into some of the finest seasonal ingredients — such as peas, asparagus and strawberries — without weighing them,’ says Julia.

So today, as we continue our fabulous exclusive WW series to help you lose up to a stone in time to enjoy the freedoms of summer after lockdown, we’re sharing inspiring and delicious recipes for the great British barbecue that won’t leave you counting the cost on your bathroom scales.

And with dishes such as Peruvian chicken with avocado salad, onion rings or smoky bean and barley burgers on the menu — all featured in today’s pages — there’s every reason to celebrate.

Of course, there are occasions when you’re not in control of the food yet eager to enjoy the event. So how can you navigate a table laden with tempting goodies and stay on track with your health goals?

‘Try to focus on enjoying the event as a whole — an opportunity to catch up with family and friends you may not have seen for a while — and to see the food as a secondary issue,’ advises Julia Westgarth.

There are also some practical steps you can take.

‘It’s so tempting to try a bit of everything on a buffet and end up with a much bigger plate of food that you’d originally planned,’ says Julia. ‘Try to be strategic about portion size from the outset; pick a smaller plate and choose plain grilled meats or seafood and salads that are not drenched in mayonnaise or full-fat vinaigrette dressings.

‘If you’re well-prepared, you could even slip a little pot of low-calorie dressing into your bag to add to undressed salad so you know exactly how many SmartPoints you’re using.’

Another useful trick is to find somewhere to sit away from the food, to avoid the temptation to nip back to a buffet for ‘just a bit more’.

‘But if you do slip up, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not the end of the world and it’s certainly not a reason to abandon your healthy eating goals,’ says Julia. ‘Be kind to yourself. Tomorrow is a new day and you can easily get back onto your programme and carry on working towards a healthier, happier you.’

PERUVIAN CHICKEN

If you've resolved to shed unwanted pounds you gained during lockdown and transform your health and fitness, you'll be keen to ensure that social gatherings don't scupper your weight loss goals. Try serving healthy dishes like Peruvian chicken (pictured)

If you’ve resolved to shed unwanted pounds you gained during lockdown and transform your health and fitness, you’ll be keen to ensure that social gatherings don’t scupper your weight loss goals. Try serving healthy dishes like Peruvian chicken (pictured)

Prep: 20 mins l Cook: 1 hour

Serves 6

  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp paprika
  • 1tbsp ground cumin
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5kg whole chicken, skin removed
  • Lime wedges, for serving 

For the green sauce:

  • 30g pack coriander, leaves picked
  • 2 small green chillies, roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 4tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise

For the avocado salad:

  • 1 Romaine lettuce, shredded  
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled, stone removed, and thinly sliced
  • ½ lime, juiced  

Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan 180 c/gas mark 6. Mist a metal rack with cooking spray and put in a roasting tin.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, paprika, cumin, garlic, oil, salt and cayenne pepper.

Make a few slits in the thickest part of the chicken, then rub the spice mixture all over the chicken and inside its cavity. Put the chicken, breast-side up, on the prepared rack and roast for 1 hour or until cooked through.

Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce and salad. For the sauce, put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste.

For the salad, combine the lettuce and onion in a salad bowl, top with the avocado and sprinkle over the lime juice. Season to taste.

Put the chicken on a platter, before carving at the table. Serve with the salad, sauce and lime wedges on the side.

myWW+: 8 SmartPoints value (green, blue and purple) 

SMOKEY BEAN & BARLEY BURGERS

Our fabulous exclusive WW series to help you lose up to a stone in time to enjoy the freedoms of summer after lockdown, we're sharing inspiring and delicious recipes for the great British barbecue that won't leave you counting the cost on your bathroom scales like these smokey bean and barley burgers (pictured)

Our fabulous exclusive WW series to help you lose up to a stone in time to enjoy the freedoms of summer after lockdown, we’re sharing inspiring and delicious recipes for the great British barbecue that won’t leave you counting the cost on your bathroom scales like these smokey bean and barley burgers (pictured)

Prep: 25 mins l Cook: 55 minutes

Serves 6 

  • 100 g pearl barley, rinsed
  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 198g tin sweetcorn, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 400g tin pinto beans in water, drained and rinsed
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 20g vegetarian Italian hardstyle cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp 0% fat natural Greek yoghurt
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 6 x 60g wholemeal burger rolls
  • 1 Little Gem lettuce, leaves separated

Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the barley, then bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes, or until tender.

Drain well and spread out on a large plate to cool.

Meanwhile, mist a large nonstick frying pan with cooking spray and set over a medium heat. 

Cook the chilli, onion and sweetcorn, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables start to brown. Add the garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Transfer to a plate to cool and wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper.

Put the pinto beans in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl, add the cooled barley along with the chilli and onion mixture, coriander, egg and cheese. Season and stir to combine.

Transfer half of the mixture to a food processor and process until finely chopped but not completely smooth. Return the mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.

Divide the bean mixture into 6 equal balls, then flatten to form 10cm round patties. Add the oil to the frying pan and set over a medium heat. Cook the burgers, in batches, for 5 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine the yoghurt and lime juice and season.

Split the burger rolls and toast until golden, then top with the lettuce, bean burgers, lime yoghurt and bun tops.

myWW+: 10 SmartPoints value (green), 7 SmartPoints value (blue) and 8 SmartPoints value (purple) 

ONION RINGS

Loosening lockdown restrictions and the onset of summer bring family barbecues and alfresco lunches but with dishes like onion rings (pictured) you can enjoy these occasions while keeping on track with your health goals

Loosening lockdown restrictions and the onset of summer bring family barbecues and alfresco lunches but with dishes like onion rings (pictured) you can enjoy these occasions while keeping on track with your health goals

Prep: 20 mins l Cook: 20 minutes

Serves 6 

  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 60g plain flour
  • 80g panko breadcrumbs
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic granules
  • 3 onions, cut into 1.5 cm-thick slices and then separated into rings

For the buttermilk dip:

  • 120ml buttermilk
  • 90g reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ tsp rice vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan 180 c/gas mark 6. Mist a large non-stick baking tray with cooking spray.

To make the dip, whisk together all the dip ingredients in a small bowl until blended, then season to taste.

Set aside to allow the flavours to blend. To make the onion rings, spread half the flour on a plate and all the breadcrumbs on a second plate.

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, remaining flour, cayenne pepper and garlic so you have a smooth batter, then season.

Coat the onion rings, five at a time, with flour. Dip them into the batter, letting any excess batter drip off, then coat with the panko breadcrumbs.

Transfer to the prepared baking tray, then repeat with the remaining onions. Mist the rings with cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes, turning halfway through, or until the onion is tender and the coating is crisp and golden.

Serve the onion rings with the buttermilk dip on the side.

myWW+: 5 SmartPoints value (green, blue and purple) 

HOW IT WORKS 

WW’s healthy eating programme, myWW+, works because it’s flexible and based on solid science.

It is based on four key elements: healthy eating, exercise, good sleeping patterns and a mindset package that helps you to adopt a healthier frame of mind.

To tailor your food choices to your lifestyle, myWW+ offers a choice of three plans: Green, Blue and Purple.

You can go to ww.com or the myWW+ app for a personalised assessment to discover which plan is best for you.

All plans are based on SmartPoints and ZeroPoint foods; every food and drink has a SmartPoints value — one easy-to-use number that naturally guides you towards a healthier pattern of eating.

On top of this, you can enjoy ZeroPoint foods. These are vital for your health and have a SmartPoints value of 0, meaning you can eat them without counting or weighing them.

When you join myWW+, you’re given a customised SmartPoints Budget according to which plan you are matched with. The list of ZeroPoint foods also depends on your plan.

GREEN: For people who eat on the go or enjoy pre-prepared foods, Green gives a Daily Budget of 30 SmartPoints and 100+ ZeroPoint fruits and veggies to choose from.

BLUE: If you like cooking, but also want the flexibility of the occasional ready-meal, Blue offers a Daily Budget of 23 SmartPoints and 200+ ZeroPoint foods.

PURPLE: Tailored for someone who cooks from scratch and doesn’t want to weigh or measure ingredients, Purple gives the lowest Daily Budget of 16 SmartPoints but the highest allowance of 300+ ZeroPoint foods.

You also get a weekly allowance (weeklies) for splurges or bigger portions; up to four unused SmartPoints from your Daily Budget can be rolled over to your weeklies.

On top of this, you can also boost your SmartPoints Budget by earning additional FitPoints for any activity you undertake.

Healthy barbecue recipes that could help you shed those lockdown pounds 

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