A Healthy Summer Picnic
Looking for a way to slow down and enjoy some time with family and friends? A picnic is an easy and fun way to relax. You don’t have to hike into the hills to have the perfect picnic, just find a spot at your neighborhood park, or under a shady tree in the backyard. What really matters is the company you keep and the delicious (and healthy) food you pack. So forget the hot dogs, potato salad and chips… it’s time to update your picnic basket!
You don’t need to abandon your healthy eating habits to have a great picnic. There are plenty of healthy options that are easy to make and portable too. Start by planning your menu ahead of time and use it as a grocery list while shopping. Prepare and refrigerate food the night before that you plan to bring along. The keys to a good picnic are foods that are easily transported, healthy and tasty.
Replace the usual picnic fare with a few of the following options:
Be sure to also bring along:
- Whole wheat wrap with hummus, chopped tomatoes, red onions, and feta cheese, drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.
- Whole wheat bread with grilled turkey or chicken, avocado, tomatoes, spinach and low fat Swiss cheese.
- Grilled vegetables, balsamic vinaigrette, and part skim mozzarella cheese on whole grain rolls.
- Grilled shrimp and/or vegetables over cous cous.
- Spinach salad with grilled chicken, tomatoes, avocado, raisins and walnuts, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
- Whole grain pasta , tossed with pesto and grilled eggplant.
- Bean dip, hummus, pita points, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers.
The Scoop on Food Safety
- Seasonal and local fresh berries, melons, and fruits, chopped vegetables, popcorn and whole grain crackers.
- Seltzers or water flavored with lemons, oranges, or cucumber.
There’s nothing that can spoil a picnic like food that hasn’t been properly stored. It’s important to keep picnic foods cold from the time they leave the refrigerator until they are consumed. Invest in a good cooler and ice packs. Insulated bags are also excellent to take along to the beach, sporting events, boating or on car trips. Avoiding foods made with mayonnaise, dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese) and eggs is also a good practice when on a picnic.