Eating well at barbeques and picnics

Appetite for Life

Eating well at barbeques and picnics

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Barbeques and picnics are a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Try these quick ideas to make your next barbeque or picnic nutritious and delicious!

Barbeque ideas

  • Hamburgers are a barbeque favourite. Choose lean burgers or make your own. If you make your own, get creative by adding herbs, spices and grated vegetables, cheese or beans.
  • Most sausages are high in fat and salt. Fresh meat is a better choice. Choose lean burgers, fish or chicken.
  • You can spice things up by making vegetable burgers using lentils, chickpeas, tofu or sweet potato. The supermarket also sells pre-made vegetable burgers in the freezer and fridge aisles.
  • Jacket potatoes can be cooked ahead and reheated quickly on the barbeque. Serve with fillings such as beans, coleslaw and natural yoghurt.
  • Vegetable kebabs are colourful and delicious. Try a combination of capsicum, mushroom, onion, zucchini and cherry tomatoes.
  • Serve a selection of salads such as Greek, roast vegetable, potato or pasta salad. Add flavour with dressings, lemon juice or herbs and spices.
  • Wholemeal or wholegrain breads are higher in fibre. Swap white bread for wholemeal or wholegrain or offer both options for variety.

Picnic food ideas

  • When you’re planning for a picnic, try to think of foods that are easy to eat and transport well. Picnic favourites include sandwiches, salad rolls and quiche. In cooler weather, take a thermos of soup, hot tea or coffee.
  • It’s hard to beat fresh fruit to finish off a picnic. Look for fruit in season, cut it up and serve it on a platter. Aim for as many colours as you can.
  • Water is the best drink for quenching thirst on a warm day. Try flavouring iced water with frozen berries, lemon or mint.

Top food safety ideas

  • Store, transport and cook meat carefully. An Esky or cooler bag packed with ice blocks can be used to keep meat, salads and other fresh food cool.
  • When you’re out and about, sit the Esky or cooler bag in a shaded spot to keep it cool for longer.
  • Try to keep uncooked meat separate from salads and fruit in the Esky. This will help to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Ensure all meat is cooked through (especially chicken and hamburgers) and serve hot.
  • Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat.
  • Only take salads out from the cooler when you are ready to eat. Refrigerate any leftovers and use within one to two days.
  • For more information, see the Food Safety page.

Consider your needs

  • When planning your barbeque or picnic, think about any special dietary needs. Wherever possible, ensure these can be met.
  • Sitting on a picnic rug may be difficult for some. Consider a location with suitable seating or bring folding chairs and tables.
  • Disposable plates, cups and cutlery can save on washing up, but they may be flimsy and tricky for older people to use. Consider purchasing a more durable and re-useable picnic set to bring along to barbeques and picnics.

This general advice was accurate at the time of publication (June 2020). For more information about nutrition and your individual needs, see your GP or an Accredited Practising Dietitian.