Healthy Barbecues and Picnics

Weather permitting, who doesn’t enjoy a barbecue or picnic surrounded by friends and family? Whatever you are cooking, keep food safe from bugs - at best these can cause a tummy upset and, at worst result in serious illness. 

Top tips to keep food safe..................

  • Thaw all raw meat thoroughly and keep in fridge until you are ready to BBQ.
  • Store raw meat at the bottom of the fridge to prevent meat drippings mixing with other foods
  • Set the fridge at a colder setting to compensate for frequent door openings.
  • Keep utensils for raw and cooked food separate.
  • Wash all raw fruits, vegetables and salads thoroughly.
  • Cover all food outdoors to prevent the flies getting to your meal.
  • Wait until the charcoal is glowing red with a powdery grey surface before you start cooking
  • Don’t assume that if meat is charred on the outside that it will be cooked properly on the inside.

healthy.............and tasty............

  • Chose lean cuts of meat. Trim off fat and remove skin before cooking.
  • Turn the food regularly using tongs or a spatula and move it around the barbecue to cook evenly.
  • Remove badly burnt bits before eating*. 
  • Marinade meats with ingredients such as citrus juices, herbs and spices. 
  • When barbecuing vegetables, drizzle with a strong flavoured peppery olive oil for a great flavour.
  • Butternut squash is ideal for the barbecue. Simply drizzle with olive oil, BBQ and serve with black pepper. 
  • Wrap a whole onion, or potato or sweet potato in foil (complete with skin) and cook on the barbecue until soft.
  • Try fruit kebabs or cook a banana in its skin on the barbecue for 10 minutes or so. Serve with fromage frais or yoghurt.
  • Pasta salads and potato salads are great BBQ staples. Use whole grain pasta and leave skins on potatoes where possible
  • Opt for a the variety of breads such as granary, seeded rolls, whole grain pitta bread, baguettes, wraps and rye or soda bread.

*Grilling meat, poultry and fish produces chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs).When fat from grilled meats drips onto hot coal, another group of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAHs) are produced that are deposited back onto the food by smoke and flames that blacken the meat. Both HCA and PCA are chemicals that are known to increase cancer risk if eaten regularly over a long period of time.