Schools out, BBQs at the ready!

Carola Diettrich, MINDI, Community Dietitian

Schools are finally out and with a bit of luck the weather won’t give out on us completely just yet. With that in mind, it seems the perfect time to dust off that BBQ and have a family barbecue day.

It can be a wonderful occasion to gather around the folks, as the research has shown a family that eats together tends to be healthier. With a bit of planning your ‘grill-fest’ can be both a fun family event and a healthy meal.

BBQ is a great opportunity to get the whole family involved; all hands big and small can be part of the preparation. Little ones are great at helping with salad preparation, creation of marinades or making up kebabs, it is a great chance to start your little chefs early!

Marinades can be made up simply by using balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, pepper, olive oil, garlic, or mustard or by simply some herbs rubbed on the meat.

Let the meat soak in the marinade for about an hour or even overnight in the fridge and you get lovely flavours from tender meat. These marinades are a great way to introduce flavour without salt, your blood pressure will thank you!

Variety is the spice of life; there are loads of foods that are not only suitable for your BBQ but also delicious; from various bits of chicken, beef and pork, or homemade burgers, heart-healthy fish (especially salmon, mackerel, trout, herring ).

Or, how about adding in some vegetarian options such as mushrooms or chunks (about ½ inch sized ) of vegetables, such as peppers, courgettes, aubergine, onion, baby carrots or corn on the cob?

As you need little to no fat to grill foods, it’s a great and healthy way of cooking low fat and tasty meals. In order to be safe remember to avoid burned bits or undercooked meats, cooked meat should be piping hot, without any pink bits and its juices when pierced run clear, keep raw and cooked meats separate both before and after cooking, and until the BBQ is hot and ready for action, store your raw ingredients in the fridge well covered.

Clean your grill well before and after use. For more details check the food safety website at www.safefood.eu or call their helpline 1850404576. For more information on nutrition and diet, please contact the Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service at 0449395518 or email: [email protected].

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