Few events inspire more good vibes than a summer barbecue. Fresh cocktails, great company, and a flaming grill are a tough combination to beat. One drawback: a menu full of heavy, greasy culinary fare that can leave you in the sluggish, bloated state known as a “food coma.”
Why Do I Feel So Puffy and Tired After Eating BBQ?
While everyone’s body reacts differently to certain foods, we know that certain ingredients have an outsized potential to make us feel sluggish and bloated. Problematic foods and ingredients you are likely to encounter at a barbecue include:
- Barbecue sauce: The sauces typically slathered on ribs, pork, and other barbecued meats are generally high in sugar. Sugary foods are generally low in fiber, cause inflammation, and disrupt your gut microbiota. These effects contribute to sluggishness, headaches, and other post-meal pains.
- Chips and dips: Highly processed foods can have a destructive effect on your gut microbiome, studies show.
- Fried foods: Some barbecues include fried food, including fried chicken, french fries, and even fried vegetables. There is a well-established connection between fried meat consumption and poorer bacterial diversity in your gut, and frying any food is generally bad news for your health.
Whether you’re hoping to avoid that dreaded food hangover, stay on track towards your weight loss goals, or simply find healthier culinary alternatives this barbecue season, there are many options out there for you.
Barbecue Classics With a Lighter Twist Don’t Have to Lack Flavor
Some general tips to follow when composing a lighter barbecue menu include:
- Start with the meats: Ribs, beef-based burgers, and pulled pork are delicious, and certainly have their place at any barbecue. But why not offer other meats that are easier to prepare in a light, healthy, gut-conscious manner? Grilled chicken and turkey burgers can be sufficiently mouth-watering and decidedly lighter than sauced-up alternatives. And as plant-based burgers and sausages continue to improve in taste, texture, and variety, their popularity is soaring.
- Fruits and vegetables deserve a spot at your barbecue: Fruit salad is a versatile dish that is easy to prepare and sufficiently refreshing for sun-soaked summer barbecues. While you have the grill fired up, throw some poblanos, portobellos, asparagus, and bell peppers—or really any vegetable you can think of—on there for a bit of flavorful, chary goodness.
- Keep the sides diverse: While those who want the traditional barbecue experience will scoop up the macaroni and cheese and potato chips, they may just as well go for a light coleslaw, a green bean or Caprese salad, or some polenta or vegan cornbread.
With proper seasoning and time-tested recipes to rely on, these sides don’t have to be any less flavorful than heavier dishes.
If You Find Yourself Facing Frequent Gut Issues, Consider Using Probiotics
No matter how cautiously they approach the barbecue buffet line, some people still experience bloating, belching, and nausea after eating—all symptoms of a gut in crisis.
Consider adding probiotics to your daily health regimen. These may help rebalance your gut microbiome and rid you of harmful gut-related health issues.
You can learn about probiotics and their benefits by reading this article, and other pieces on Gut to Know.