Healthy Picnic Food Ideas
Lighten up your summer outings with these healthy picnic recipes and tips.
Healthy Picnic Food Idea No. 3: A Different Main Dish
Instead of picking up a basket of fried chicken or grilling burgers, why not
pick up a roast chicken or try making wrap sandwiches?
"Wraps are easy to eat and transport, and can be supernutritious if you
make them with lean meat, stuff them with veggies and a salsa or light
dressing," says Neville.
Making lean beef burgers or ground turkey breast burgers will shave fat and
calories over regular ground beef. Skip the cheese and save even more.
Skinless chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, and veggie burgers are other
delicious picnic food ideas. Try them brushed with barbeque sauce and topped
with lettuce, tomato, and other veggies. Hot dog lovers, choose the lower-fat
brands or try a chicken or turkey dog.
Brighten up a chicken or turkey entrée salad with green grapes, mangoes,
peaches, or toasted slivered almonds.
Healthy Picnic Food Idea No. 4: Sensational Salads
Resist the temptation to load your picnic basket with high-calorie salads
held together with mayonnaise. Mayonnaise-based salads are not only high in
fat, but are also a medium for growth of bacteria that can cause food-borne
Instead, use dressings made with less oil and more vinegar or other added
liquids such as fruit juices. Using salad dressings that contain acidic
ingredients such as vinegar or citrus instead of mayonnaise not only cuts fat
but helps keep foods safer at room temperature.
In starchy salads, substitute whole-grain pasta for white pasta and sweet
potatoes for white potatoes. Or break free of tradition and try a brown rice
salad or whole-wheat couscous salad. Combine cherry tomatoes with green beans
and a little whole-grain pasta and add a little pesto for a tasty, nutritious
salad that travels well.
Neville makes her favorite Mexican bean salad using a can of drained and
rinsed black beans; a can of drained corn; a can of chopped Mexican-style
tomatoes in lime juice; a chopped red pepper; a pinch of cumin; and a bit of
Healthy Picnic Food Idea No. 5: Add Some Whole-Grain Goodness
Breads, rolls, and starchy salads can pile on lots of calories. So limit the
starches in your picnic basket and wherever you can, make them whole grain for
added nutritional value.
For a welcome change to the usual picnic fare, use whole-grain buns, pita
bread, or wraps for your grilled meat, chicken, fish, or veggies.