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How to organize your picnics and barbecues in a healthy way

What are our favorite dishes for picnics and barbecues? Do we prepare them well? The new episode of the podcast “A gust amb la Terra” talks about changing habits and tips to follow so that our meals are versatile and healthy.

If we want to enjoy the last bits of good weather outdoors, we can turn to picnics and barbecues. Moments of meeting, in which we combine the pleasure of eating and contact with nature.

With the help of Noelia López, Nestlé nutritionist, we discover how to organize meals so that our only concern is enjoying that moment outside.

Do our eating habits change according to the time of year?

One thing we can take for sure… our diet varies depending on the time of year. This is indicated by a Nestlé study, which indicates that around 66% of Spaniards admit to eating more green food in hot seasons such as spring and summer.

It doesn’t end there: 92% of respondents say they choose to eat more seasonal foods. The reason? 6 out of 10 do it because they are in the best moment of flavor and 2 out of 10 participants because they are aware of the positive impact such a small gesture brings.

Noelia López takes this data as a reference to talk about a change in our inevitable trends. Outdoor meals, picnics and barbecues are also in full transformation: we include more vegetables than five years ago.

What’s more, 55% of respondents say they incorporate alternatives to the typical animal proteins and, on the grill, for 62% vegetables are a more than usual option.

The dishes that are never missing at picnics and barbecues

The numbers are not deceiving. 32% of Spaniards say they always use the legendary potato omelette for outdoor meals, although vegetable alternatives are gradually gaining ground.

But, in any case, the most common thing is to come across various salads, gazpachos, salmorejos, Russian salad and different types of vegetable pâtés, such as guacamole or humus.


If we focus on the case of barbecues, we generally think of meat products because of the cultural roots that exist in this sense.

But when we mentioned a change in habits before, we were not wrong: more than half of Spaniards claim to have changed the variety of food: 62% now choose to give prominence to vegetables.

Keep these tips in mind

high temperatures

It is well known that we love to eat in parks, beaches, rivers… but heat and hygiene are food risks that we have to deal with.

In this way, the danger of consuming preparations containing raw egg, such as the typical homemade mayonnaise used to dress Russian salad, is emphasized once again. The expert recommends avoiding them.

“One option is to bring cooked vegetables and opt for a commercial, sterilized mayonnaise that we can transport and open, avoiding the development of microorganisms, such as salmonella,” he says.

Watch out! In the case of using sterilized sauces, it is necessary to consume them very soon to prevent them from spoiling.

Also due to the high temperatures, it is necessary to avoid the consumption of undercooked or raw animal products.

“It’s better to enjoy sushi or meat or fish tartar at home and with a fridge close at hand,” says the expert.

Potato omelette as a better option?

Although the most common choice is the potato omelette, it does not mean that it is the best. Among other things because, in addition to verifying that it is well made, the preservation must be optimal. Keeping it at the right temperature is essential for its correct consumption.

EFE/Nestlé Kitchen

Other options to consider

But let’s not forget that there are many possibilities. Noelia López points out some of them:

  • Cold soups. Of course, keep them cold for safety, hygiene and also because it tastes good. For example, a supermarket gazpacho, if pasteurized, is the perfect choice. And if it’s hot, it’s important to replenish the water lost through sweat.
  • fresh fruit. The best? Transport the whole fruit and cut it on the spot.
  • preserves. It’s a healthy, safe and convenient choice. Tuna, sardines, piquillo peppers, artichokes, mushrooms… there is a wide variety of preserves.
  • Pasta or rice salad. It is true that they are quite a classic, but we are not very aware that cooked cereals, due to the amount of water they contain, carry risks. We must refrigerate them well to prevent possible poisoning.
  • Legumes. They give a lot of play. For example, we can prepare nutritious and refreshing salads based on legumes or we can turn to vegan burgers, healthy and safe.
chickpea recipe
Vegan chickpea curry. EFE/Nestlé Kitchen

How to prepare the portable refrigerator

The Nestlé nutritionist keeps pointing out the importance of the organization. For perfect picnics and barbecues keep in mind:

  • temperature: the portable refrigerator we choose must hold the temperature for more than 10 hours. Although it is less safe, we can opt for a refrigerated bag and cold packs or ice blocks. Of course, if we use ice, we must take into account that water can wet and spoil the food, and it will not last cold for more than two hours.
  • Avoid raw foods: in the case of having to transport food, we must consciously separate the boiled from the raw. It is best to use airtight containers and leave raw food at the bottom of the fridge.
  • Avoid leaving it in the car: it is necessary to choose a cool and dry place for our refrigerator.

Do not forget it!

Finally, Noelia López highlights essential points for barbecues and picnics to be safe.

  • Mixing raw and cooked products in advance is an unnecessary risk. It is better to transport it separately and finish preparing the salad on the spot.
  • clean us up well them handsthe area in which we will eat and the foods to consume
  • Use tablecloths.
  • Employ utensils several, each for each type of food.
  • Make barbecues a allowed places i to pick up all the waste.

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