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Sizzle with good health

 There’s something special about eating outdoors, and a barbecue in the garden on a hot summer’s day is hard to beat. As the nation celebrates National Barbecue Week (5-18 July), push traditional images of sausages and burgers to one side, fire up the coals and make a vibrant, tasty and nutritious array of edible treats – particularly important if you need to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Choosing the right ingredients and opting for home-made dishes is an important start:

Meats and marinades

Reduce your fat intake with lean cuts of meat, such as chicken breast, and flatten it with a rolling pin to minimise cooking time and exposure to carcinogenic chemicals from the coal. Try making your own marinade to add extra flavour – shop bought marinades can often be high in salt.

If you can’t resist a burger, making your own with lean mince is a healthier choice and add nutritious ingredients, such as grated carrot or chopped apricots, for extra goodness.

Skewers, salads and sides

Vegetarian dishes can be a welcome alternative to all the meat and offer a nutritional boost too. Have some fun and get children involved in making Mediterranean style kebabs with courgette, red onion, peppers and tomatoes. It’s great encouragement for any fussy eaters as they’re more likely to eat food they have helped to prepare.

Ready-made traditional side dishes such as potato salads and coleslaws can be laden with fat and salt – instead, make your own with low fat yoghurt rather than mayonnaise.

Mouth-watering drinks

Barbecues can be a good excuse to indulge in alcohol but, for hydration, water is the best option on a hot sunny day. Try adding slices of fresh fruit to make it even more refreshing.

For a sweet finish…

Simply keep a banana in its skin, wrap in tin foil and place on the grill for about 10 minutes while the charcoal is dying down. Unwrap it for a delicious gooey pudding!


It is very important to understand your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Our simple online health check takes just a few minutes. The Healthier You programme is free to join and you can sign up without visiting your GP. The sessions are now available with a British Sign Language Interpreter if BSL is your first or preferred language.

Use our online checker to find out if you’re at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes:

It might be the most important thing you do today.

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