Grilling Fun and Food Safety with Benefits.gov!

Who wants to heat up an oven inside their home during the hottest part of the summer? Why not take your cooking outdoors for a change of scenery and the chance to make some healthy, fun meals for your friends and family?  July is National Grilling Month and Benefits.gov has a few grilling resources and creative recipes to share with you!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers great tips for keeping your cookouts safe and healthy. Whether you cook out on a big gas grill, a small charcoal hibachi, or even over a campfire, it is essential that you store and cook all food, especially meat, at a safe temperature.  Here are a few of USDA’s quick safety tips to keep in mind:

  • When shopping, choose meat and poultry last, right before checking out. Also, keep meat and poultry separate from other groceries in your cart
  • Freeze ground meat and poultry that you do not plan to use within two days. Larger cuts of meat, like steak, should be used within four days or properly wrapped and placed in the freezer
  • Transport meat and poultry to picnic sites in an insulated cooler with plenty of ice or frozen ice packs

Now that we’ve covered food safety, we’d like to share programs that can help you access fresh vegetables and fruits that are a great addition to your meal. Benefits.gov provides information on programs designed to produce and sell more fresh fruits and vegetables to local communities. For example, the Local Food Promotion Program helps small farmers and food producers grow and develop food products, and the Farmer’s Market Promotion Program helps local food producers sell their produce in local communities. It’s just a quick hop from a local farmer’s market to a grill and then onto your dinner plate.

Cooking out is a great way to spice up food preparation. Nothing is more fun than food served on a stick, so try threading meat and vegetables on skewers for the grill. You can also try some of these simple and tasty recipes. Save time on cleaning up by sealing meat or fish and vegetables in a foil pouch before placing it to cook on the grill. You can even grill dessert: make banana boats by stuffing bananas with chocolate chips and marshmallows and cooking the “boat” in foil. Sail in to summer with delicious family meals cooked on the grill.
The summer is a great time to go outside and prepare tasty, grilled foods for the whole family. Enjoy the warm weather, and keep an eye on Benefits.gov for more helpful information about government benefits and other topics.

Food/Nutrition