Top tips for hosting a healthy Australia Day barbie

Australia Day can be a particularly challenging day for diets, with so many of our national foods crammed with fat, sugar and carbs.

“Some of the worst offenders are the cheap sausages, meat pies and sausage rolls, as well as sugary desserts such as lamingtons and pavlova,” says nutritionist Amanda Ford from Zest + Zing in Balgowlah.

media_cameraDelicious, but not healthy.

And let’s not even get started on the Tim Tams or Chiko Roll.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to go without, she says. “Enjoy a small portion of your favourite Aussie treat, or better still, make your own homemade versions which are always going to contain more wholesome ingredients and less refined sugars than the store bought variety.”

If your celebratory plans involve a barbie, there are plenty of trim and tasty options beyond the greasy chops and sangas.

media_cameraNothing wrong with an Australia Day steak.

“You could try lean steaks, lamb cutlets, chicken breast, vegetable skewers, a whole fish or grilled prawns and seafood,” says Amanda.

“Or have a go making your own burger patties made with lean mince, sourdough or whole meal rolls and lots of colourful veggies like beetroot, carrot, lettuce, tomato and cucumber.

“Use a healthy spread such as mustard, avocado or hummus in place of sugar-laden sauces.”

The more adventurous may also wish to try Australian game meats, such as kangaroo or crocodile.

“Kangaroo is a very lean protein and a very rich source of iron, one serve provides 1/3 of your daily iron intake,” says Amanda.

And don’t forget to trade up the table snacks, with homemade dips and mezze platters a better alternative to the Smith’s crisps and Nobby’s nuts.

media_cameraBreak up the bevvies with a fresh fruit mocktail.

“Great options include vegetable sticks with dips such as hummus, pesto and guacamole, or an antipasto plate with olives, tomatoes, goat’s cheese and rice crackers.”

While no one is suggesting you give up your hard-earned Australia Day stubby, Amanda suggests limiting your alcohol consumption to 2-4 standard drinks.

“This can be achieved by drinking water in between your wines, drinking slowly or bringing along some quality non-alcoholic beverages like sparkling mineral water with fresh fruits or a nice flavoured kombucha.”

media_cameraFactor some sport into your day.

Finally, the day shouldn’t just be about food. Instead try to focus on family, friends and fitness, says Amanda.

“What’s Australia Day without a bit of backyard cricket or a swim at the beach,” she says.

“Apart from enjoying some time outdoors with friends and family, which is great for our health, it’s a chance to get out and be active. Let’s work up an appetite for that Australia Day lunch and get in some physical activity while also having fun.”