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Planning, prep and storage

While healthy BBQ cooking might be simple, hosting the event can be a little trickier. How much food will I need to buy? How early can I prepare? How long will my leftovers keep afterwards? Get the answers to these questions and more with this handy BBQ planning guide.

How much food will I need?

Over-catering a BBQ could put a strain on your hip pocket, and under-catering could put a strain on your friendships! It’s crucial to get the quantity of food correct, but planning can be challenging – especially if guests are grazing throughout the afternoon. So, here’s a handy guide to getting the quantities right. For every adult, prepare approximately:

2-3 serves of grains

  • wholemeal bread slice = 1 serve
  • bread roll = 2 serves
  • cup of cooked grains, pasta, quinoa, rice = 2 serves

2-3 serves of vegetables

  • where 1 serve = 1 cup salad vegetables, ½ potato, or ½ cup cooked vegetables

1 1/2 – 2 serves meats

  • where 1 serve = 100g meats or chicken, or 115g fish – before cooking

1 serve fruit

  • where 1 serve = 1 medium piece or 2 small fruits

And for every child under 12, prepare approximately:

  • 1-2 serves of grains
  • 2 serves of vegetables
  • 1 serve of meats
  • 1 serve of fruit

Mixed foods

You may have some dishes that combine grains and veggies – especially salads. To make serving calculations simple, try to include half vegetables and half grains. This way, each cup of salad will provide about 1 serve of grains and 1 serve of vegetables. It’ll make your salads more filling and more economical.

Sticking with a few favourites reduces wastage and makes preparation simple.

Sample meal plan

Here’s an example of a healthy, cost effective meal plan for six adults:

The perfect preparation

By choosing dishes you can prepare ahead of time, all you have to do is fire up the BBQ when the guests arrive. But, with food sitting around for extended periods, it also means you need to be aware of proper food preparation and storage techniques.

  • Wash hands thoroughly before handling food
  • Always place cooked meat onto a clean plate, and not a plate with raw meat juices on it
  • Use separate utensils for cooked and raw meat
  • Don’t pour marinade from raw meats onto meat that is cooked
  • Cook sausages, meat patties and poultry thoroughly, until all juices run clear
  • Keep cold foods at 5° or colder and hot foods at 60° or hotter until you’re ready to eat
  • Get familiar with the temperature danger zone