Looking for a fun activity to do with friends and family on Memorial Day weekend? Head outside for an old-fashioned picnic.
Whether you picnic in a park or backyard, packing something tasty and healthful is easier than you might think. Start by following these simple tips:
Bring what’s in season
Make a colorful and healthful variety a part of your picnic. Enjoy fruits and veggies raw with a low-fat dip. Fill a container with a fresh fruit medley. Make a chopped veggie salad with brown rice and beans. Top a green salad with sweet berries.
Reimagine your sandwich
A PB&J isn’t your only picnic-friendly option. Try a whole-wheat wrap with lean turkey and low-fat cheese. Add lettuce, spinach, avocados, and tomatoes for a healthy dose of vegetables. Or how about noshing on a chicken, olive oil, feta, and tomato combo?
Make it fun to eat
Use cookie cutters to turn your kids’ sandwiches into interesting shapes that even fussy eaters can’t ignore. Kids also love fruit and vegetable kebabs. Serve them with a sweet or savory yogurt dip.
Pack a thirst-quencher
Fill a water bottle with 100 percent fruit juice, ice, and sparkling water. Add lime, orange, or strawberry slices.
Don’t spoil your picnic
Hot temperatures can quickly turn good food bad. To help steer clear of food poisoning:
Place perishable food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Park the cooler in the shade. If you don’t have a cooler, you can safely bring nonperishables to the picnic, like canned or dried fruits, canned veggies, and fish, or peanut butter to pair with bread or crackers.
If you’re going to grill, keep raw meats separate from other foods. Use a thermometer to make sure meat is thoroughly cooked.
Think outside the box with grilling
Alicia Buterbaugh, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with Kettering Health Network, suggests, “Toss vegetables in a little olive oil, season with a little of your favorite spice blend and place them on the grill. Carrots, peppers, and zucchini or yellow squash are great on the grill. To simplify this, pack thinly sliced and seasoned vegetables in single serving-sized foil pouches that can go directly on the grill. For dessert, try grilling fresh pineapple wedges or peach halves. Top with yogurt, a little granola, or nuts.”
If you’re going to eat outdoors, make sure everyone stays comfortable by bringing a thick blanket with a waterproof underside or a combination of a waterproof cover or tarp with your favorite blanket.
One final tip: Bring games or activities for some outdoor fun. Pack a ball to toss or kick. Or pack some paper and colored pencils, and invite everyone to draw the nature they see around them.
The month's most popular health news, stories, and tips in your inbox.Sign Up