Barbecareful – Outdoor Cooking Cues

There are a few better pleasures than a lazy Sunday afternoon outdoor cookout. Few can resist the temptation of that moment when the intoxicating scent of a fired up grill permeates the neighbourhood.

Grilling is usually a lip-smacking combination of taste, health, and fun, but it can be a bit of a problem for our health. So before you whip off the grill cover and fire it up, there are a few key ground rules to establish.

Ground Rule #1: Minimize the formation of potential cancer-causing substances – Potential Carcinogens tend to form when meat is exposed to high heat for long periods of time.

  • Choose lean proteins, like fish and chicken breast . Trim the visible fat and remove the skin before cooking.
  • Marinate foods for grilling in vinegar or lemon juice, avoiding sugary or oily marinades.
  • Cook foods on the grill for the least amount of time necessary to cook them through safely. Avoid charred or blackened foods.

Ground Rule #2: Know basic food safety. Cookouts are rife with opportunities for cross-contamination and food spoilage, which can lead to food-borne illness.

  • Keep raw meat, fish, and poultry well-chilled until just before cooking. If any of it needs to thaw, set a reminder to transfer it from the freezer to the bottom shelf of your fridge the day before.
  • Never re-use cooking utensils or dishes that have touched raw meat, unless you have washed them thoroughly with soap and water in between.
  • Don’t leave cold salads and sides at room temperature for more than two hours, especially if they contain mayonnaise or dairy.

 Ground Rule #3: Go beyond the food. A cookout is a celebration, and although food is a big part of it, it’s far from the only one. Plan for some activities to keep everyone engaged and moving. Any kind of game which the entire participating group can have fun playing or even playing some great music for people to get ready to swoon to the tune of the food is a great way to turn a cookout into a fantastic event. Please don’t let your cookout be a few people surrounding a grill, while waiting for their handouts!

Ground Rule #4: Relax! If most of your diet is full of nutrient-dense foods, a few holiday cookouts will not fully derail your health goals. It’s important to prioritize your own well-being, but that means taking a deep breath and cutting yourself some slack now and then just as much as it means eating well and moving more most of the time. Your health journey is bigger than any one meal or social outing.

So go on, order your choice of grilling greats from Licious and light your day up!

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