Planning for a Healthy Picnic or Barbecue?

Planning for a Healthy Picnic or Barbecue?

Happy middle-eastern family having fun in a park in Dubai - Parents and kids celebrating the weekend in the nature

What could be a better way to have fun and strengthen your bonds with your family than going out for a picnic? If you are already planning for a picnic or barbecue party, read this article.

The picnic and foodborne diseases

Our moms’ delicious and varied foods make the picnic what it is, but are certain foods better suited to a picnic than others?

A picnic means spending a lot of time outside without a refrigerator and most foods may spoil, so choose foods that do not spoil easily in the heat.

Examples of foods that spoil quickly:

  • Dishes or dips made with dairy products such as butter, cream, cream cheese or other soft cheeses.
  • Dishes contain mayonnaise, such as salads

Foodborne illness rates rise in the summer because bacteria grow in hot, humid areas, and people may eat outside with unclean hands or on contaminated surfaces. Therefore, care must be taken to use disinfectant before and after eating, after using the bathroom, and after handling pets.

If you must bring perishable foods, put them in ice bags and store them in a shaded place, and throw them away if they have been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours (25°C), 1 hour if the temperature is above (32°C)!

Planning a barbecue?

If you are planning a barbecue party, you should:

  • Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood refrigerated until ready for grilling, whether in the refrigerator or in an insulated cooler.
  • Putting leftovers in the freezer or refrigerator within one hour.
  • Dispose of any remaining perishable food that has not been refrigerated.
  • Avoid inhaling smoke from barbecue because it is harmful and causes many diseases.
  • Reduce grilling time by cutting poultry or meat into small cubes.
  • Use salt water because it may reduce the production of carcinogens.
  • Avoid charring of meat and dispose of charred parts before eating.
  • Wrap the meat in foil, which speeds up the cooking time and protects it from smoke.

Clean hands

  • Make sure your children wash their hands well before eating. Also, bring wet towels, wipes or hand sanitizer.
  • Wash fresh vegetables and lettuce when preparing for a picnic.
  • Wash your hands before handling any food and after touching raw meat, poultry or seafood with soap and water, and if they are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean work surfaces, utensils and grill before and after cooking.

And definitely don’t forget to avoid direct sunlight and use sunscreen.