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A barbeque (BBQ) can be a great idea with kids, but there are some adaptations to your standard barbeque that might just make them a little more kid-friendly and a little healthier for getting your little ones involved.
First off, why is a BBQ with kids a good idea?
It’s SO great to get kids trying new foods, eating alfresco and also eating together with friends and family in a social environment. It’s what I love to talk about in my work and there is research that shows that eating socially like this can help kids enjoy food and mealtimes more. Therefore, a BBQ can be a perfect time to help kids enjoy their mealtimes, see others eating and enjoying foods and even experiment themselves with some new food items.
Next…a bit of safety.
When cooking for kids, it’s important to remember that their immune systems aren’t as efficient as ours as adults, so we do need to be a bit careful with BBQs from a safety aspect.
Firstly, make sure the BBQ is well away from kids and where they are likely to be and play. Hot coals and metal and kids never mix, so if you can, have a designated person to look after the BBQ, have it away from everyone else and if you have anything to “cordon off” the BBQ somewhat, that’s ideal.
Secondly, it’s important to ensure food is stored properly, kept cool and not left out in the heat for long periods of time. Ice baths under salads and cold food (where you sit the food trays in large platters of iced water) and having covers on food to prevent insects from getting on them can help. Be careful with anything that is meat or fish and always follow basic food hygiene principles to minimise risk of food poisoning e.g. keep raw foods away from cooked foods.
Thirdly, make sure that foods are cooked all the way through. Burgers are made of minced meat so they do need thorough cooking (not black on the outside and red inside) and fish needs to be cooked well, too.
Here are some of my FAVOURITE BBQ food ideas that are delicious, healthy and pretty simple – for adults and kids:
OK, you might think that burgers are KEY, but there is so much you can do with salads these days. Watermelon and feta cheese salads always go down so well on a hot day and you can really jazz them up and make them super exciting. My family like halloumi, rocket and cherry salads and they’re an incredible flavour combination, too. Salads are a good way to get some colour, texture and fibre into your BBQ meals and help the kids get some of their 5-a-day – especially if you’re offering salads with added fruits (trust me, it works!).
These are SO much easier than they sound. It’s just about adding some mince with some flavours (I like cumin and garlic powder and a little paprika) and squidging them into a ball/burger shape ready for the grill. You can then also make mini versions for kids, too, which is generally better than offering bigger ones that’ll only be half eaten. It also means you can leave off the salt (not really needed in homemade burgers) and even add some extras in for fibre. I love adding in lentils (almost undetectable but add extra nutrients and fibre) plus spring onion for extra flavour.
Think about the marinades
So easy to add flavour and help your kids love them by adding flavours that they love. Of course, ketchup is always going to go down well but you can add flavour to SO much by using lemon and lime juices, and trying out different herbs and spices, such as rosemary, cumin, curry powder and chillies in your sauces/dips and marinades.
Fish platters go down so well at BBQs and can be a good way to get the kids to experiment. They also help to offer an alternative to meat and offer some nutrients, including omega-3, protein and iron. Tuna steak, salmon, mackerel or sardines are all great varieties to have on offer (ideally, check they are Marine Stewardship Council Approved).
These can be with tofu/Quorn/halloumi or chicken included, too, and can go down well with kids. Get them to make them themselves and allow them to slide the veggies and protein onto their stick and then someone take them to the BBQ so they feel a bit involved.
it’s SO easy to make these in bulk in advance. Simply freeze your favourite smoothie recipe and offer them when the kids need to cool down. Ideally avoid adding sugars and add sweeter fruits to help them be nice and sweet for the kids. There are so many recipes online and they only take a few minutes. Check out my ice lolly recipes for these here.
I hope you found this helpful. Please share with us on social or via email your FAVOURITE BBQ recipes for adults and kids.
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