As Memorial Day approaches, a weekend bound to be filled with good food, great friends, and lots of laughter, it's increasingly important to plan ahead for your outdoor entertaining festivities. From safe grilling practices to hydration tricks, we've rounded up our top five tips to ensure that you and your family remain safe and healthy throughout the holiday weekend.
1. Stay hydrated. Our friends at Southern Living know a thing or two about outdoor entertaining and encourage readers to "avoid midday events, especially those between noon and 3 p.m., when the sun warms even the shadiest of spots." A better option: Make your meals revolve around brunch or an evening dinner, when temperatures are cooler and shade is not at such a premium. If a noon call-time is unavoidable though, it's important to stay hydrated, be it through traditional fluid methods or hydrating foods.
2. Be prepared. Having the right tools on hand for outdoor entertaining will prevent a lot of fuss later on. Our guide to essential grilling tools and an endless array of summer recipes will have you looking like an outdoor entertaining pro before the weekend is over.
3. Brush up on your grilling skills. Grilling is a quintessential part of outdoor entertaining and is an easy way to quickly cook delicious meat dishes for guests. With our tips and techniques from grill master Steven Raichlen, this preferred outdoor cooking method will have you whipping up healthy versions of chicken, fish, veggies, and more in no time. Just be sure to preheat the grill, clean the grate, and avoid other common grilling mistakes so you don't wind up with burnt burgers and charred chicken.
4. Stick to the two-hour rule. With an outdoor spread, food temperature should be monitored closely. Unrefrigerated food should not be sitting out more than 2 hours. If it’s above 90˚F then food should not be sitting out over one hour. Also, be sure to cover everything from sides and salads to your delectable desserts to keep bugs away.
5. Don't skip the 'screen. This year, Memorial Day also happens to be National Sunscreen Day, a time devoted to teaching people about the harmful effects of the sun and the long-term consequences that UVB rays can have. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, unprotected sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. So in an effort to have fun outdoors and stay safe, take a few extra minutes this weekend to thoroughly apply sunscreen to yourself and your kids. (Don't forget to reapply every two hours!)
Enjoy the warmer weather and all of your activities outdoors this Memorial Day weekend.