How to Have a Healthy Barbecue

Check out these tips for making this summer's barbecues healthier

(RxWiki News) Summer is barbecue season, but barbecues aren't always the healthiest events. Here's how to make them healthier.

Check out these four key tips for healthier and safer summer barbecues.

1. Don't Forget the Veggies

Meat is often the main event at barbecues, and there's nothing wrong with some lean protein as part of a healthy diet. But too much red meat has been linked to all kinds of health problems, from heart disease to certain types of cancer.

Need a way to cut the meat consumption at your next barbecue? Don't forget that veggies go great on the grill. Peppers, onions, mushrooms and more make for a delicious grilled addition to any meal. 

Don't forget the fruit, either. Pineapple is a sweet and vitamin-packed mainstay of grilled fruits.

2. Watch That Flame

It's that time of the year when the grill is smoking, the foods are sizzling and mouths are watering — but make sure your cookout doesn’t result in smoking more than just the burgers.

Before you light up the grill, make sure you have awater source nearby. Place a working hose or bucket of water in an easily reachable place near the grill and make sure your grill is far away from any flammable objects, such as outdoor walls, overhangs or patio railings.

3. Prevent Tummy Aches or Worse

To prevent foodborne illness at outdoor meals in the summer heat, follow some basic precautions.

Keep cold foods cold. Use an insulated cooler with plenty of ice to keep food at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Keep your cooler out of direct sunlight, and don’t open the lid too often. Leftovers should also be cooled as quickly as possible after a meal.

It may be a little harder to keep hands and utensils clean at a picnic, so pack wet washcloths, towelettes, or food-safe sprays to clean hands and surfaces.

4. Don’t Get Heated Up

In many areas of the country, summer temperature are really, really high. To prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion, wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Take a hat, sunglasses, or an umbrella for sun protection and a spray bottle filled with water to help you stay cool.

A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is the best choice to prevent sunburn. Reapply every two hours, especially if you swim or get sweaty. Apply to all exposed skin about 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside.

Remember to drink plenty of fluids, too. Water is the best choice — tea, coffee, sodas and alcohol can actually lead to dehydration.