#WellnessWeds: 4 Easy Ways to Keep Grilling Season Healthy and Fun

The last weekend of April is the unofficial start of the summer grilling season for me. It is the weekend of the Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival near Lansing, so most of my family gathers on the family farm and if the weather is decent, I end up grilling a few burgers. For the rest of the summer, anything is fair game for grilling: steaks, chicken, fish, burgers and vegetables will all find their way on the grill.

One thing that I have learned is the challenge of grilling is keeping your food safe so everyone can enjoy themselves and eat a great meal. Here are a few grilling and food safety tips for making sure that grilling season is a healthy and enjoyable activity for your family.

  1. Clean your grill. Conventional wisdom says that if you turn up the heat enough, any bacteria that could be lurking on your grill will be burned off. But rather than relying on conventional wisdom to keep your food safe, grab the rack before you fire up the grill and give it a good scrub with some soap and water.
  2. Change knives and cutting boards. This is a great tip for general cooking as well. Whatever surfaces you cut your raw meat on, do not cut your raw vegetables on. And avoid using the same knife to cut both your raw meat and your raw vegetables, too.
  3. Ditch the dish towel. That dish towel over your shoulder might make you look like a master griller, but it harbors bacteria that could ruin your fun. Since we know you wash your hands after you touch raw meat, try replacing that towel with some paper towel to keep your food safe.
  4. Keep a food thermometer handy. Your best defense against harmful bacteria in your food is cooking your meat to the proper temperature. And nothing can replace a good thermometer for telling you if your food has been cooked enough to kill bacteria. A great guide for what temperatures your food should be cooked to can be found here.

For more tips on keeping your outdoor dining experience safe this summer, check out the Home Food Safety website.

Check out these grilled recipes:

Photo by Skitterphoto.

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