It’s barbeque season!

It’s barbeque season!

Barbeques and picnics are a great way to enjoy the outdoors. When planning your next barbeque, consider these ideas to make it safe and enjoyable for everyone, including older people.

Consider the specific needs of older people

  • Think about any special dietary needs. Wherever possible, ensure these can be met.
  • Offer finger foods that can be easily eaten without cutlery.
  • Provide some soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow.
  • Offer a variety of foods including fruit, vegetables, lean meats and alternatives, grains and cereals, and dairy or alternatives.
  • Always have cool water available for drinking.
  • Disposable plates, cups and cutlery can save on washing up, but they may be flimsy and tricky for older people to use. Consider purchasing a more durable and re-useable picnic set to bring along to barbeques and picnics.
  • Sitting on a picnic rug may be difficult for some. Consider a location with suitable seating or bring folding chairs and tables.
  • Find a shady spot to keep out of the sun and be sure to have sunscreen on hand.

Barbeque finger food ideas

Grain (cereal) foods

  • Sandwiches with fillings that will not fall out. Try mixing fillings with mayonnaise or other spreads to help them stick to the bread.
  • Pikelets, pancakes, scones or banana bread.


  • Chunky potato wedges or whole baby potatoes (these can be pre-boiled and served cold, or finished cooking on the barbeque).
  • Barbequed vegetable kebabs made with paddle pop sticks. Try a combination of capsicum, mushroom, onion, zucchini and cherry tomatoes.
  • Fritters made with grated or cooked vegetables.


  • Fresh fruit such as melons, kiwi fruit or banana cut into finger sized pieces.
  • Small fruit such as strawberries or apricots cut in half.

Dairy Food

  • Cheese slices or cubes.
  • Cheese or yoghurt-based dips with crackers, toast fingers or softer vegetable sticks (such as capsicum, cucumber or snow peas).

Lean meat and meat alternatives

  • Barbequed hamburgers and sausages cut into slices. Choose lean burgers and sausages or make your own.
  • Barbequed vegetable burgers cut into slices. Try making vegetable burgers using lentils, chickpeas, tofu or sweet potato. Supermarkets also sell pre-made vegetable burgers in the freezer and fridge aisles.
  • Barbequed strips of meat, fish or chicken served with dipping sauces.
  • Meatballs or patties.
  • Hardboiled eggs.
  • Cold slices of quiche, zucchini slice or frittata.

Be food safe

  • Store, transport and cook meat carefully.
  • Ensure all food that is meant to be cold is transported and stored cold. An Esky or cooler bag packed with ice blocks can be used to keep meat, salads and other fresh food cool.
  • When you’re out and about, sit the Esky or cooler bag in a shaded spot to keep it cool for longer.
  • Keep uncooked meat separate from salads and fruit in the Esky. This will help to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Ensure all meat is cooked through (especially chicken and hamburgers) and serve hot.
  • Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat.
  • Only take salads out from the cooler when you are ready to eat.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers and use within one to two days. If food is sitting out for a while (especially if it is a particularly warm day), throw it out.