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Tips for your Summer Barbecue

Celebrate the warmer weather and summer holidays with a safe and healthy backyard barbecue. Listed below are some tips.

Focus on Food Safety
It’s important to follow these food safety guidelines to prevent foodborne illness:

  • Thaw food completely and safely overnight in the refrigerator, or in the microwave immediately before grilling
  • Marinate food in the refrigerator and discard the leftover marinade
  • Separate raw and cooked food. Don’t use the same plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat, poultry, and fish
  • Cook food thoroughly. Achieve a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria:
    • Steaks, chops, and roasts – 145°F
    • Hamburgers – 160°F
    • Poultry – 165°F
  • Keep cold food cold (below 40°F)
  • Keep hot food hot (above 140°F)
  • Discard food left out more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if outside temperatures are above 90°F).

Choose Healthier Options
You can enjoy the flavors of summer while still following a healthy eating pattern with these basic tips:

  • Start building your menu around fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and full of nutrients. Try grilling pineapple, peach halves, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, or portabella mushrooms. Vegetable skewers are a fun way to add a variety of vegetables to a meal and make for a great presentation.
  • Add lean protein options that are low in saturated fats. Try grilling poultry or fish instead of hot dogs and hamburgers. Turkey burgers, chicken, shrimp, salmon, and tilapia filets are great options.  
  • Choose smarter sides. When making a green, pasta, or potato salad, try replacing the mayonnaise with an oil- or yogurt-based dressing. Fruit salad is naturally sweet and makes a great alternative to desserts full of added sugars. 

Contributed by Christine Samoriski, Dietetic Intern 2016-2017