Summer Picnic Safety Tips

At some point throughout the summer, most of us will spend time outside with family and friends at a picnic or backyard barbecue. If you aren’t careful about handling foods during these cookouts, you’re putting yourself and others at risk for potential food-related illnesses.

Stay safe with these simple tips:

  • Wash cooking equipment, dishes and utensils between uses. Be sure to clean the grill’s surface after each use and to wash cutting boards after cutting raw meat.
  • Store all perishables in a cooler with ice on top, not just underneath. Use one cooler for drinks and one for food. Never eat anything that has been left out of a refrigerator or cooler for more than two hours.
  • Invest in a meat thermometer so you can make sure all meat is cooked to the proper internal temperature.

Food Safety Temperatures to Know

Danger zone: 41° – 135° F

This is the range where the most rapid bacteria growth occurs.

Safe zones

Cold foods: 40° F and below

Hot foods: 140° F and above

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Total Calories 193
Total Fat 7 g
Protein 10 g
Carbohydrates 28 g
Dietary Fiber 10 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Sodium 256 mg
Total Sugars 8 g

Source: USDA

Chickpeas and Spinach Saute


  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 celery stalk (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 16-ounce can low-sodium chickpeas (drained and rinsed with cold water)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Put a skillet on the stove on medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add oil.
  2. Add onion, garlic, celery and carrot and cook about 15 minutes until the mixture is soft and the onions are lightly browned.
  3. Raise the heat to high, add the tomatoes, beans (white beans instead of chickpeas) and water, and cook for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low and top the mixture with the spinach (don’t worry about stirring). Cover and cook until the spinach has thawed and heated throughout, about 10 minutes. Stir well.
  4. Add the lemon juice and red pepper flakes and stir thoroughly.

Makes: 4 servings

For more information and helpful links, please download our June 2019 Live Well, Work Well Newsletter.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Readers should contact a health professional for appropriate advice.