Summer is on its way in and people are already throwing outdoor parties! Whether it's a picnic in the park or a barbecue at the neighbors, eating your supper in the backyard or packing up the cooler for a day at the beach, outdoor dining is a fun, relaxing way to enjoy a meal in the warm weather.
However, there are some foods and drinks that you should not serve at your outdoor summer bash. Here's a list of foods and drinks to avoid serving for various reasons.
1. Fried Chicken
First of all, even though fried chicken is delicious, it's not the best thing to serve at an outdoor party for several reasons. The first one being the most obvious: it's high in calories, fat, and sodium. Of course, you can make oven-fried chicken, which is much healthier for you, but any kind of fried chicken will attract bees because of it's strong (delicious) scent.
Ignoring the fact that fried chicken is both unhealthy and can attract insects, fried foods really don't travel well because when in an airtight container the steam builds up, which makes their crispy breaded covering soft and mushy.
Serve grilled chicken breasts instead.
2. Smoked Salmon
Okay, smoked salmon does travel quite well, but it's a very strong-smelling food that can attract all kinds of bugs like bees, mosquitoes, and ants.
If you decide to serve smoked salmon to your next outdoor summer party guests, just remember to keep it covered in an airtight container to keep the pesky bugs away.
Typically when we think of outdoor dinner parties (AKA barbecues!) we think of hamburgers, hot dogs, and even sausages. All of these taste great when cooked on the grill, but bratwursts are among the worst for you because they are super high in fat and calories.
So, if you're looking to serve up a healthy dish, skip the sausages or find healthier alternatives.
4. Potato and Egg Salad
I know what you're thinking, don't serve potato salad? One of the staples of outdoor dining? Well, the problem with potato salad is that it's often made with mayonnaise and eggs, which shouldn't be left out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours.
If you can keep it somewhere cool, it should be fine.
Chocolate often sounds like a good idea to bring on a picnic, but all too often it's left out in the sun and turns into a gooey, melted mess.
The only way to ensure your chocolate will survive the summer heat long enough for people to enjoy is to keep it somewhere cool and out of the sun. Better yet, save it for your next campfire and make s'mores instead!
Soda is usually one of the first drinks people pick up when planning an outdoor party, but why not skip this sugary drink and pick up something a little healthier?
Instead of serving soda, which can have around 40 g of sugar in just one can, offer people healthier options like juice, water, and iced tea. And did you know that aspartame in diet drinks breaks down into poisonous substances when it's left out in the heat? Why risk that when you can enjoy homemade lemonade instead?
I think this should go without saying, but sushi doesn't last very long once it's made. In fact, sushi should be eaten within 24 hours after it's made. Then, the rice in sushi tastes the best when it's served cold, which only lasts about five to ten minutes once you take it out of the refrigerator.
If you're worried about safety, sushi should not be left in room temperature for more than two hours. There's not a lot of time available to purchase and serve sushi before it goes bad, so if you're hoping to serve seafood at your next outdoor party consider serving something else.
8. Uncut Food
When planning your next outdoor summer bash, don't bring anything that needs to be cut up to served like breads, cheeses, or melons unless you plan to have it sliced and diced ahead of time.
9. Ice Cream
Ice cream is another one of those yummy treats we think of when we envision summer parties, but unless you can keep it in the freezer until it's time to serve it it's best left at home. Not even keeping it in the cooler will help it last until dessert time.
10. Mixed Drinks
The majority of adult outdoor parties include alcoholic drinks.
If you're planning on serving booze at your next shindig, forgo the idea of offering fancy mixed drinks and keep it simple with beer, coolers, and wine. All of these have much fewer calories and sugar than drinks like margaritas, pina coladas, and other cocktails, which take a lot more work than handing out a bottle of beer or pouring a glass of wine. Who needs the extra stress when hosting a party anyway?