Fire up a healthier barbecue this Boxing Day

Barbecue season is in full swing and Cancer Council Queensland is calling on Queenslanders to put a healthy spin on their cook-outs.

So, fill up your esky with water, swap your snags for lamb skewers and get your zinc on for a cracking Boxing Day.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said hosting a healthy barbecue was easy and only required a few simple changes most of the time.

“We know that many Queenslanders will be firing up the barbecue a few times between today and Australia Day,” Ms McMillan said.

“While lean meat is a great source of protein, sausage sizzles can be loaded with fat, salt, and are high in kilojoules, leaving barbecue lovers with barely any nutritional benefits.

“Processed meats, such as sausages, bacon, salami and ham, are also associated with an increased risk of bowel and stomach cancer.

“Cut back on the sausage provision and grill some skinless chicken, lean mince or vegetable patties or kebabs.

“It doesn’t all have to be meat too – try increasing the amount of colour on your barbecue by grilling some tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, capsicums, corn or accompany your meat with a fresh summer salad for a more colourful, nutritionally-rounded meal.

“Condiments can bump up your kilojoules quite fast, so try swapping out sugar-laden sauces for chopped up chives or spring onion, or spreading on some avocado or hummus to wholemeal bread.

“Staying hydrated and protected from the sun is also vital when there is soaring temperatures and the UV level is three or above, so make sure to include plenty of water in your esky and pack sunscreen, so you can reapply.

“Work off your barbecue lunch and boost your wellbeing with a game of backyard cricket or a bushwalk.”

Ms McMillan said healthy habits had positive benefits in both the short term and long term.

“At least one third of all cancer cases can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices, including being active, eating well, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking and staying SunSmart,” Ms McMillan said.

“Enjoy your Boxing Day barbecue the healthy way – your body and mind will thank you for it.”

More information about Cancer Council Queensland and reducing cancer risk is available at or via 13 11 20.


Healthy BBQ checklist

Cooking for a large crowd? Use this healthy barbecue checklist.

  • Wholemeal or wholegrain bread without margarine
  • Lean meats, kebabs, skinless chicken, burger patties (limit processed meats and crumbed or battered meats/fish).
  • Vegetarian options such as vegetable burgers, kebabs, falafels or lentil patties.
  • Variety of seasonal salads and vegetables (avoid creamy dressings, use fresh lemon or lime).
  • Variety of seasonal fruit, for example, fruit salad in a cup, fruit platter or fruit kebabs.
  • Vegetables to lightly BBQ such as corn on the cob, grilled pineapple and sautéed mushrooms.
  • Use salt reduced or no added salt sauces and marinades.
  • Use a small amount of healthy oils (olive, canola, soybean, sunflower).
  • Water – have plenty of cold water available and try to avoid soft drinks and other sugar sweetened beverages.
For more information, media can contact:

Lisa Maynard, Manager, Public Relations and Social Media
Cancer Council Queensland
M: 0488 015 702 or E: