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By: Dr Afiniki Akanet, author of Fortitude and Life Without Coffee (Choosing Happiness Over Stress)
Posted on: Jun 30, 2020

Alternative BBQ Ideas for Your Summer in Lockdown

Dr. Afiniki Akanet shares her ideas for hosting a joyful but safe Summer BBQ as we all try to navigate through continuing COVID-19 restrictions.

Summer BBQ parties are usually a great opportunity to catch up with friends, enjoy food, relax and get some vitamin D. Some families have a pre-planned yearly summer BBQ party tradition, while others just like to have spontaneous BBQ parties with friends and extended family whenever there is good weather.

The taste of a cold drink in very hot weather, or spicy chicken wings followed by ice-cream, are some of my little pleasures of life. With so many vegetarian options these days, everyone can enjoy a BBQ. Quorn burgers and corn on the cob at a BBQ party really do complete the menu.

Even though lockdown measures have been relaxed in many places, we still need to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading by maintaining social distancing measures, as best we can. Here are some tips to help you enjoy BBQ season this year.

Over the Fence

I was impressed when I heard how some neighbours managed to turn their six foot fence panel into a garden dining table to
socialise, while keeping two metres apart. It is not a difficult DIY feat, if you love your neighbours enough to want to do this. It is not about how long we have known someone, but how well we get on with them that matters.

If you can both agree on a date and get cooking at the same time, having a laugh with next door neighbours through the fence space can make a memorable and enjoyable afternoon, in spite of the pandemic. We have all missed face-to-face conversations. Whilst there won’t be hugs and kisses, a heart-to-heart conversation over the fence with dear friends can do wonders for your soul. After all, ‘friends are the family we choose for ourselves’.

Video Hangouts

If you are not lucky enough to have good neighbours, or get on that well with them, you can always set up your BBQ and video-call your friends while eating in the garden. It is a better idea to use a computer, kept well away from the BBQ heat, and not a phone that you have to hold whilst cooking.

Several apps, like Zoom and WhatsApp, allow you to see each other while speaking, and there is nothing stopping you from doing this in the garden, instead of indoors - WiFi strength permitting, of course!

Some people live next door to family members, but would rather have a video call with friends 3,000 miles away, because they enjoy their company better. There is nothing wrong with that. We all need to look after our mental health in this difficult period, so do what works best for you. We can all try to maintain a peaceful relationship with everyone and look out for each other, even in lockdown.

Themed Garden Parties

If the idea of video calls or transforming fences into garden dining tables does not appeal to you, you can always have a nice BBQ with members of your own household. Make it more interesting by choosing a theme and dressing up for the occasion. How nice would it be to be dressed up in African, Asian or Caribbean outfits while drinking cold Sorrel drink or Kunun Gyada in the garden?*

With many of us having to cancel international flights this summer, it will be great to create your own holiday vibe and new memories while the sun is shining where you are right now. Remember to make healthy food choices this summer by keeping alcohol, calories and cholesterol within healthy limits, and maintain good hygiene at all times.

Though lockdown seems long and tiring, this too shall pass. Let us make the most of the life and health we have, and be grateful for the beautiful sunshine this year.

*Please drink alcohol responsibly. For more information and advice, visit drinkaware.co.uk.