Healthy braai tips

Follow these easy tips for good-for-you braaing!

  • Before the braai, have a small snack beforehand. It will help curb your appetite for the crisps and dips that are often available before the main meal is served.
  • Fresh crudités, crackers and cottage cheese make a wonderful sun-downer alternative to high-fat crisps and dip.
  • Go for leaner cuts of protein, such as ostrich or skinless chicken. 
  • Instead of the traditional meat braai, try a fish braai – it is far healthier and a delicious alternative.
  • Boerewors is typically high in fat and cholesterol – ask your butcher to make leaner wors using game or ostrich meat with as little fat as possible.
  • Try these ingredients to make delicious easy cost effective marinades for your meat, poultry or fish:
Almost any combination to your preference of the following ingredients: Soya sauce, sweet chili sauce, red wine, mustard, finely chopped pineapple, honey, lemon juice and any fresh herbs, e.g.: coriander. 
Tip: Use pineapple (fresh or from tin) as a natural tenderizer for meat.  It contains an enzyme called bromelain, which assists with protein digestion. 
  • Instead of the usual boring and unhealthy white rolls, use whole wheat pita bread quarters or small wedges of rye bread. Heat on the warm grid.  Once heated, remove from grid and spread with a low fat dip such as hummus or chunky fat free cottage cheese. Read our top tips for Healthy Sandwiches.
  • Make veggie kebabs or wrap them in foil and bake in the coals.
  • Make a paste with crushed ginger, chilli, sesame seeds, olive oil and raw honey.  Spread this paste on corn-on-the-cob and braai, turning until golden brown all over.
  • Cut butternut in half – remove pips.  Fill with fat free smooth cottage cheese and a dash of nutmeg and brown sugar. Wrap in foil and braai on coals.
  • Cut paw paw, peaches or pears in half, removing all seeds/pips. Braai for a few minutes on each side and serve with fat free vanilla yoghurt or low fat custard.
  • Bananas wrapped in foil with a little melted dark chocolate are simply decadent!

Get in the good stuff
Add vegetables such as butternut, onions, sweet potato, corn on the cob and pumpkin to your braai. They are delicious and will help you to cut back on the portions of protein and carbohydrates on your plate.  

Add lots of salad-based options to the meal, such as beetroot salad, carrot salad, sweet potato salad with a light mayonnaise, three-bean salad and mixed green salad. Three-bean salad not only adds heaps of fibre, but also lowers the GI of the meal, keeping your energy levels up for longer, while a garden salad fills you up without filling you out

Keep dessert fruit based for a perfect end to a deliciously healthy meal:
Alcohol can play havoc with your liver, dehydrates your body and can increase feelings of depression. What you should have if you must is light beer. Depending on the brand, light beer can drop your alcohol intake by half. You might also want to read about the benefits of rather drinking water.