Summer is a great time to get together with friends and family outside but there are important safety factors to remember when taking food out into the heat and ways to make a group meal healthier. Here are some tips from registered dietitian Melissa Murray on keeping your food safe and healthy while still enjoying the great outdoors.
- Keep it cool — Pack frozen and refrigerated food in a cooler with ample ice when organizing outdoor meals. Then keep your picnic basket or food containers closed and in the shade to prevent spoilage and plan to eat the perishable items first.
- Hydration is key — Bring lots of liquids to keep hydrated throughout the day. Make sure kids are drinking plenty of water — add lemon, lime or cucumbers to make it tastier. Watery foods like watermelon contribute to hydration too!
- Pack healthy snacks — Forget the chips and pack trail mix or vegetable sticks. Fruit is also a great way to ensure you keep your electrolyte levels in check while having fun in the sun.
- Mix it up on the grill — BBQs are not just about hot dogs and hamburgers. Grill vegetables like zucchini, peppers or asparagus to accommodate different diets and make the meal healthier for everyone. Remember the healthy plate model and keep your plate balanced with carbohydrates, protein and vegetables at all meals.
- Summer heat and ice cold treats — Sweet treats can still be healthy. Involve kids and try making some DIY popsicles with yogurt and fruit or freeze grapes for a nutritious and refreshing treat.
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