The countdown to National Braai Day on September 24 has begun, but this year South Africans are encouraged to make it a “healthier” event given the rise in lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease.
To help braai-lovers in this endeavour, Pharma Dynamics has teamed up with the Heart and Stroke Foundation as well as food consultant and cookbook author Heleen Meyer to compile a healthy braai edition as part of its Cooking from the Heart cookbook series.
It contains 30 recipes that cater for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. The recipes include healthy, homemade marinades and seasonings, snacks, sides and salads, as well as vegetarian dishes and even desserts.
Spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics Wilmi Hudsonberg says because braaiing is a shared social custom that is enjoyed by all South Africans, they felt it important to develop a heart-healthy recipe book specifically for braaiing occasions, while continuing to create awareness of cardiovascular disease, which claims 215 lives every day in SA.
“Many of the meals we share are around a fire with friends and family, but it is often accompanied by food that’s not healthy for our hearts. Our aim is to make people a bit more conscious of the nutritional faux pas they make when indulging in this national tradition.”
For a healthier braai, try these top tips from the Cooking from the Heart braai edition:
• Choose proteins wisely by opting for lean meats, such as fish and skinless chicken breast instead of too much red meat. If you do opt for red meat, rather buy loin or tender cuts and remove any visible fat before cooking.
• Marinate or rub meat with salt-free spices and lemon, which add amazing flavour. This will reduce the need for salt, which heightens your risk of hypertension.
Use chilli, cumin, garlic, cinnamon, black pepper, paprika, thyme or rosemary for a lip-licking taste.
• Limit your meat intake (of any type) to 150g.
• Fill up your plate with grilled vegetables, salads and side dishes. The more colour you add, the better.
In SA, we have a great selection of fruit throughout the year so be sure to add these to the braai menu.
Meat and veg sosaties (kebabs) are always a hit. Add red, green or yellow peppers, butternut, baby marrows, eggplant, mushrooms and onions to the skewer and brush with healthy oil before grilling.
• When preparing salads or side dishes, don’t drown them in salty sauces or heavy, store-bought dressings. Rather make your own healthier condiments.
• Opt for wholegrain breads, rolls or wraps, which provide additional fibre, instead of white carbs.
• Consider healthy toppings over ice cream, such as chocolate bananas or fruit salad. Grilled fruit is also delicious! The natural sugars caramelise in the high heat, which makes it extra sweet and flavourful.
Recipes are available at www.cookingfromtheheart.co.za