Adria Wu: 6 Ways to Enjoy A Healthy BBQ This Summer

Lighting the BBQ at the first sight of sunshine is a British rite of passage, and with social distancing rules starting to relax we can’t wait to get friends and family together for a garden party.

BBQs are often associated with being unhealthy, but with a shift in trying healthier family meals here are some top tips to make your BBQ kinder to you and the planet this summer.

We spoke to Adria Wu, Natural Chef and Founder of healthy eating restaurants Maple & Co, to discover how you can enjoy freshly grilled burgers and sausages, with one eye on being healthy.

Adria also whipped up this delicious Meatless Portobello Burger recipe for you to try at home – no meat, no bread. Two simple swaps!

See the full recipe here >

Meatless burgers with Portolbello mushrooms

SIMPLE SWAPS, MASSIVE IMPACT Having a healthier BBQ doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel, there are really simple swaps you can make including offering colourful and crunchy sliced veg instead of crisps and chips (or just having them available next to a reduced amount of crisps and chips!). You can also swap in low-fat yoghurt or reduced-fat hummus-based sauces and dips instead of mayo. For example, try making a coleslaw and replacing mayo with low-fat yoghurt. Yoghurt is also great for gut health, which is where 70% of our immune system resides. You can also try swapping sugary sauces for fermented pickles, kimchi or sauerkraut for an extra boost to your gut.

REDUCE REFINED CARBS – White burger buns and pasta salads are British BBQ staples but they’re heavy on refined carbs and have little nutritional value. Increase your fibre and nutritional intake with a sweet potato salad or try using iceberg lettuce or portobello mushrooms as alternative veggie ‘buns’.

FOCUS ON BALANCED MEALS – A balanced meal includes 50% non-starchy veg, 25% complex carbs and a good source of protein. It’s worth keeping this in mind whilst you’re cooking up a storm; make sure you’ve got options across these key nutritional areas. Protein doesn’t necessarily mean meat either – plant-based alternatives, like Meatless Farm that I used, provide a high protein source whilst also containing fibre. There’s minimum fuss too, as they cook the same. A great way to upweight the veg on your plate is to make a rainbow slaw.

QUALITY NOT QUANTITY – Avoid piling high poor-quality sausages and burgers burnt to a crisp. You’re better off selecting a few good quality items that cook well and deliver the protein level that you need. It’s key you include a meat-free alternative as over half of Brits are reducing the amount of meat they’re eating this year. Meatless Farm’s burgers and sausages are made using the highest quality plant-based ingredients and provide a meaty taste and texture, so there’s a level of familiarity but no sacrifice on protein.

DIY DIPS, SAUCES & SALAD DRESSINGS – We’re a nation of sauce fanatics and nothing goes better with a BBQ than delicious marinades, dips and sauces. Lots of shop bought sauces, dips and even salad dressings and pre-marinated products can contain high levels of salt and sugar. Try making your own where possible so you can control the amount of sugar and salt. Try a quick fix, healthy dip using low-fat yoghurt with lemon and mixing in fresh herbs (chives work well) or grated cucumber. Hummus makes a great base for dressings (mix with mustard and lemon juice) and dips, as it’s vegan and a good source of protein.

BETTER SUMMER PUDDINGS – Skip out on the sugar packed sweet treats and opt for fresh, fruit-based puddings. Our body has zero physiological requirement for added sugar and many acute and chronic illnesses are linked to excess consumption of added sugar. This easy and family fun recipe for watermelon pizza is always a crowd pleaser, especially with my daughter.

Watermelon pizza

Serves 4


  • 1 watermelon, medium size, chilled
  • 100g Greek natural yoghurt
  • 150g berries
  • 10g mint


  1. Slice whole watermelon into 1.5cm thick round slices.
  2. Slice round slices into triangular/pizza shaped slices and layout slices into a pizza shape.
  3. Dress the watermelon with yoghurt then garnish with berries and mint. Serve chilled.