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BBQs, picnics and staying safe

Man bbq'ing in an garden
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Updated 19th July 2021- We recommend the coronavirus page on the Government website for more up date information.

Since the 19th of July, we have entered the next stage of the lockdown roadmap with people now being able to meet up with unlimited amounts of people indoors and outdoors. With most restrictions lifted on meeting up, and the summer weather, you might be planning a BBQ or picnic.

When you’ve gathered your nearest and dearest for an outdoor gathering, be it in a garden or the local park, how do you continue to stay safe? And look after yourself?

Exercising caution

Being able to meet friends and family again is exciting but it’s important to remember that now social distancing has relaxed we're still urged to be cautious and weigh up the risks of contact with those who do not live with you. If some of your guests are higher risk, why not place chairs a distance apart or perhaps set up socially distant picnic blankets in the park. By setting up the space you will avoid temptation to get closer together.  

Hygiene tips

If you can try and opt for garden furniture that is wipe clean; you can disinfect all seating before your guest arrive. Whether in a park or garden make sure to bring hand sanitiser and to use regularly, as well as ensuring to wash your hands frequently if you have access to a sink. Read our hand washing technique guide for tips. 

Recipe ideas

The NHS change 4 life website has plenty of healthy BBQ and picnic recipes to try, from falafel wraps to savoury rice and turkey burgers. For a desert showstopper you could make our sugar-free chocolate cake recipe. When planning your menu take into account the need to remain socially distant, for example avoiding two households sharing one bowl of crisps and dip. Read our healthy eating guide for more tips on nutrition and a balanced diet.

BBQ know-how

When preparing a BBQ or picnic, particularly in warmer weather, it’s important to remember the 4C’s of food hygiene, chilling, cleaning, cooking and cross-contamination. Chilling food properly stops bacteria from growing. Defrost food overnight in a fridge, store raw food separately from ready-to-eat foods and don’t overfill your fridge, leaving air to circulate to maintain the temperature.

If you’re cooking meat on your BBQ remember to check that the meat is steaming hot throughout and the meat juices run clear. If burgers are on your menu, a burger should always be served well done and not rare or pink. Use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food and ensure you wash your hands after touching raw meat.

Indigestion relief

Some of the foods we often associate with a BBQ such as tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumber, spices, fatty foods and fizzy drinks can increase symptoms of heartburn and indigestion. If heartburn and indigestion is something you experience you could try cutting down on tea, coffee and alcohol, eating 3 to 4 hours before going to bed and eating less rich or spicy food, as well as stopping smoking if you do. For advice and support on stopping smoking find out more about our Stop Smoking Services

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