The latest recipe book in the Cooking from the heart series, the Braai Edition, is now available. There are lots of hints and tips about braaiing, recipes, menus and more in the book, but as with the previous books, the aim is to help everyone enjoy tasty, affordable and healthy meals on a daily basis.

When having a braai, there are many elements to think about – what to braai, whether it’s a wood or briquette fire as an open fire or in a kettle braai, how hot the coals should be for what you plan to braai, and more. Here are a few important things to consider, to ensure that the braai will be delicious and healthy for the whole family.

Keep the menu balanced

Planning the menu is one of the most important things when inviting family or friends to a braai, especially when you want to keep things on the healthy side. South Africans love starchy side dishes, but unfortunately that is one aspect of a meal that could make it less healthy, as it easily adds too much energy to the meal. We all love braaibroodjies, potato salad, pap or another starch-based side dish or even salad. Rather have non-starchy veg or salads to fill your plate, and include ingredients like broccoli, beans, cabbage, tomatoes or cucumber. There are a number of menus in the Braai edition of Cooking from the heart. These are ideal examples of delicious meals that provide a balanced plate of food with something from each important food group.

Choose the right ingredients and seasoning

Once you have decided which dishes to prepare, the choice of ingredients, seasonings and cooking methods are vital to serve a healthy meal. Seasonings like fresh herbs, salt-free spices, ginger, garlic, chilli and of course lemon are prefect to season a variety of proteins, veggies and other side dishes. Using fresh ingredients helps you to avoid high levels of sugar, salt, artificial preservatives and unhealthy fats in your meals. The recipes in Cooking from the heart are tried and tested and all use fresh ingredients, making it easy for you to have yummy meals on your table every day.

All about portions

And then, when the food is on the table, dishing up smaller portions will make all the difference as part of a healthier way of eating. Keep the plate model in mind, to know how much of each food group is the ideal portion for you and your family. There are lots of information and tips on portion sizes in all the Cooking from the heart recipe books. Download your free copy of the latest edition of the book here: