18 Dec, 2019

Why the Aussie BBQ is worse than junk food

Ronnie Oliech

Are you a fan of the Aussie BBQ?

BBQs are a great option for family get-togethers, an easy summer dinner, or when you’re away on holidays with the family.

However, not all BBQs are created equal.

If you choose the right foods, the Aussie BBQ can help you stay on track with your weight loss and body transformation.

But choose the wrong foods, and you may be eating a meal that’s worse than eating junk food.

The typical Aussie BBQ menu

Before we get into too much detail, let’s look at a typical BBQ menu when you get together with friends.

Meat (Protein) — Typical BBQ meat includes sausages, BBQ lamb chops and burgers

Salads — Popular salads at a BBQ include coleslaw, potato salad and a garden salad

Bread — Buttered bread rolls for those burgers!

Dessert — Who doesn’t love a traditional pavlova with fruit, cream and ice-cream?

Drinks — An Aussie BBQ isn’t complete without beer, wine or soft drink

While the above may sound like a delicious spread, it certainly won’t do you any favours when it comes to weight loss.

While we don’t advocate counting calories, it’s important to be calorie-aware. What this means is understanding which foods are high in calories (which will make it harder for you to lose weight), and which are lower in calories. Understanding this will help you make smarter food choices that support your weight loss goals, without the need to count calories or go on a diet.

With that in mind, let’s have a closer look at our typical BBQ menu.

Meat (Protein)

Our body requires protein. Protein is required to build and repair muscle tissue. They also help keep us full. However, you want to choose lean, healthy proteins that will nourish your body, build a functioning metabolism, and help you lose weight.

Sausages, lamb chops and burgers may be leaner on your wallet, but not on your body. Processed meats such as sausages, BBQ lamb chops, and pre-made burgers from the supermarket are usually high in fat.

Without getting scientific, it’s useful to understand that 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories, compared with 4 calories for every gram of protein — so the higher the fat content of any food, the more calories you’ll be consuming.

Better options:

Other, tasty, nutritious and body-friendly protein options you could have include:

  • Marinated lean beef (choose cuts with the least amount of visible fat)
  • Salmon or other white fish
  • Seafood such as prawns, calamari
  • Chicken and/or lean pork and vegetable skewers
  • Home-made beef or chicken burgers (add grated veggies for extra taste and nutrition)


Eating lots of fresh vegetables is an important part of transforming your body shape and losing weight. However, many of the salads at our traditional BBQs include dressings that are high in fat. These include potato salads, coleslaw and pasta salads. Even the humble green salad can contain loads of excess calories if it’s dressed with oily dressings.

Better options:

Salads can be one of your best friends when it comes to weight loss. Try:

  • serving dressings on the side to avoid the calorie overload
  • use vinaigrette or yoghurt-based dressings on your salads
  • focus on vegetables that are in season, as they’re often tastier and cheaper
  • use your imagination and add some refreshing fruit such as orange segments, mango or blueberries to your salad
  • serve vegetables that have been grilled on the BBQ
  • add vegetables to chicken or meat skewers.


There’s nothing wrong with eating bread. However, most BBQs serve up large, white rolls laden with butter.

Better options:

You don’t have to banish the bread, but you can lighten things up by:

  • choosing breads that are high in fibre, or contain grains and seed for that added nutritional boost
  • avoid the butter (or have a smaller amount)
  • choose smaller size bread rolls, bread stick or even light wraps


Let’s be clear. There’s nothing wrong with eating dessert, even if it is pavlova with cream and ice-cream! Part of a healthy, sustainable eating plan is making room for some of your favourite foods. In fact, you’ll probably get better weight loss results if you ditch the diet mindset and enjoy dessert without the guilt. However, it pays to be mindful that most desserts are high in fat, and therefore calories.

Better options:

Summer desserts can be tasty, nutritious and colourful, especially if you make fruit your focus. Try:

  • making the most of summer fruit by serving a colourful fruit salad or fruit platter
  • grilling stone fruit on the BBQ and serve with ice-cream or yoghurt.

But if your heart (and stomach) really wants a slice of cheesecake or pavlova, go ahead and indulge! Just stop at one slice.


One thing the Aussie BBQ is never short on is alcohol. Alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation, but too much can sabotage your weight loss goals. Alcohol not only increases your calorie intake, but your appetite as well. It also makes it more likely that you’ll make poorer food choices. Just 2 or 3 drinks can increase your energy consumption by 30%! Alcohol also inhibits your digestion, impairs your ability to build muscle and leads to poorer sleep. And as we’ve mentioned before, sleep plays a huge part in changing your body shape.

Those who don’t wish to drink alcohol often turn to soft drinks. However, these can also wreak havoc on your weight loss efforts, by significantly adding to your calorie intake, due to their high levels of sugar.

Better options:

At Imani Tribe we don’t believe in cutting out entire food groups, and that includes alcohol! However, if you’re serious about losing weight and changing your body shape, you will need to limit your alcohol intake. Other options include:

  • alternating your alcoholic drinks with mineral water
  • diet soft drinks
  • water served with lemon slices, mint and load of ice.

Eat in moderation

It’s important to remember that a long-term, sustainable eating plan that supports permanent weight loss should include eating out. Understand that not all food choices are based on nutrition, and that it’s okay to eat foods you love. The trick to making this work for you is planning it into your week, focusing on eating quality food instead of highly-processed, junk foods, and paying attention to portion sizes.

Avoid trying to be perfect with your eating. Perfectionism only causes stress, which will hinder your weight loss. Instead, give yourself permission to eat out, and celebrate food with family and friends. Learning to relax with food, and enjoying it without feeling guilty is an important part in achieving long-term weight loss.

Ready to change your approach to food?

If you’d like to know how to lose weight and still be able to enjoy your favourite foods, sign up to our FREE weight-loss eCourse by clicking the button below and entering your email. This eCourse, delivered straight to your inbox, will show you the way to overcoming a diet mindset and will show you how to lose weight once and for all. Plus, you’ll get a SNEAK PEEK of our Confidence Avalanche Body & Lifestyle Program.

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Tell us in the comments below what you were most surprised to learn about BBQs.

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