No matter the season, more and more of us are cooking outdoors. During the warm summer months outdoor cooking and dining are even more popular. Here are some steps you can take to stay healthy and reduce your risk of illness during the summer months.
When meat and other protein foods are cooked at high temperatures, chemical compounds can form that are believed to increase risk of some types of cancer. To decrease formation of these compounds use a lower flame on your grill, trim away fat on meats to avoid flare-ups and marinate meat prior to cooking.
The heat of summer makes for perfect outdoor BBQs, but it also sets the stage for food borne illness. Leaving food out for even a short period of time in the heat can result in rapid growth of harmful bacteria. Here are some tips to help you keep food safe:
- Immediately refrigerate all perishable items when you get home from the grocery store.
- Keep meats and other perishable foods refrigerated until ready to use, and pack coolers just before leaving.
- If using coolers, keep out of sunlight and avoid opening too often (a good rule is to keep beverages in a different cooler to avoid opening frequently).
- Return foods to the refrigerator or cooler immediately after serving.
For cooked foods:
- Completely defrost foods prior to cooking so they cook evenly.
- Cook completely; use Dream Dinners cooking instructions which include safe minimum internal temperatures, so there is no guess-work.
- Use clean utensils and platters for cooked foods to avoid contamination of prepared foods.
Source: Cindy Farricker, MS, RD, CDE, Registered Dietitian, Dream Dinners, Inc.