picnic basket

 

As the temperatures outside begin to warm-up, it’s time to start planning fun outdoor activities.  As we begin to dream of beach towels and waves, hiking and waterfalls, and just lounging out by the pool, we also need to consider how we are going to keep our body nourished, energized, and refreshed.  This can easily be accomplished by packing a healthy picnic basket for all those fun times.  Traditional picnic foods have normally included things like fried chicken, hamburgers and hotdogs, macaroni salad, potato chips and brownies.  These high calorie foods can definitely cause trouble for your diet, but the good news is that with a little substituting and making healthier choices we can enjoy a wonderful picnic without sacrificing our health.

 

Check out these three tips for preparing for a nutritious and healthy picnic:

 

1.  Start with the basics of Nature (Fruit and Vegetables)

Pack your basket with fresh produce including grapes, apples, bananas, peaches, berries and melon.  These fresh fruits will bring lots of flavor and refreshment on hot weather days.  Don’t forget to pack the veggies!  Vegetables can be consumed raw with  dips such as hummus or a lite veggie dip, or they can be used in some delicious recipes.  Try choosing a healthier version of macaroni salad or tossing together a nutritious version of broccoli slaw.  Many of our starchy mayonnaise based salads can be improved nutritiously by substituting colorful veggies for some of the starchy ingredients and substituting Greek yogurt for mayonnaise.

 

2.  Rethink your main dish

Instead of picking up the usual Fried Chicken and French Fries, try planning ahead for a healthier meal option.  If you are in a hurry, try picking up a baked rotisserie chicken or some sandwich wraps or subs.  If you are thinking about grilling at your picnic site, then try turkey burgers and chicken, rather than the normal hamburger and hotdogs.  Both turkey burgers and grilled chicken will provide you with good protein and are a lower fat option.  To add to your main dish, don’t forget that you can grill some tasty veggies also.  Slice up some mushrooms, squash, onions, peppers and zucchini to make some tasty skewers that will add both nutrients and flavor to your dish.

 

3.  Finishing Strong 

 Most staple desserts for cookouts normally include cookies, brownies, cakes or something with chocolate.  First try substituting some of these high calorie choices out for a colorful fruit tray.  If you and your guests must have something sweet to finish off your tasty meal, then first remember portion sizes count.  Cutting that nice slice of cake in half saves not only calories, but your waist line.  Also, try baking healthier recipes for dessert, such as an angel food cake with sliced strawberries and lite whipped cream.  

 

 Sources: eatright.org

 Healthy Picnic Food Ideas from WebMD