Healthy Outdoor Dining

If you’re anything like me then you’ll love dining outside, be that lunches or evening meals outside on the porch, BBQs, boat outings or picnics. My children would eat outside if it was raining, if I let them!

It is easy to go off tracks with your diet and health goals when dining outside, and when you may be more influenced by friends, family and social pressures.


When BBQing ensure you follow good food hygiene practices such as keeping raw and cooked foods separate, washing your hands after touching raw meats and covering foods to prevent insects and flies feasting on your food.

It is true that BBQ’d foods have higher levels of cancer causing chemicals than non-BBQ’d foods. You can reduce this risk by 95% by marinating meats before cooking and removing any badly burnt bits before eating. Homemade marinades are usually the healthiest. The risks are higher with higher fat foods so choose leaner cuts of meat whenever possible e.g. chicken cubes, fish or steak, rather than fatty or processed foods such as hotdogs, burgers, sausages and chicken wings.

Picnics and Social Events

I have many, many clients who become anxious around picnics and the family and social pressures that can surround them. They don’t want to be the one seen to changing things and introducing new and healthy foods to the usual, stereotypical, table of mac and cheese, potato salad, macaroni salad, bread rolls, coleslaw, hotdogs, chicken legs and drink mix. Families should support each other but sometimes we are scared to be the one to make the change. I often advise my clients that there are usually others who would choose some healthier options, if they were available, and suggest they take something that they need to help balance their own meals such as a large mixed salad, some non-sugary drinks or some fruit for dessert.

Don’t Forget to Balance Your Meal!

Just because you are dining outside doesn’t mean our body’s requirement for a healthy balanced diet is changed. Remember to balance your meal with plenty of fruits and vegetable, a lean protein and a small portion of wholegrain starch – local BDA corn is amazing grilled!

  • Make a vegetable skewer or tinfoil pouch of veggies to BBQ
  • Always have a large mixed salad – be mindful of high fat or salty dressings
  • BBQ some fruit – I love grilled pineapple or peach
  • Have some chopped fruit salad, fresh berries or watermelon wedges

If you are concerned about your or your child’s nutritional health and feel you would benefit from support from a Registered Dietitian please contact us at Island Nutrition on 295-4082  or at


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