Spring is in the air! And with the warm weather awakening our spirits, we find ourselves using every excuse to be outside. Eating alfresco and having picnics are popular options to enjoy the spring weather, but traditional picnic food can be a problem for someone trying to watch their weight and stay healthy. Fried chicken, potato salads, hamburgers, cookies and other desserts may be popular and easy choices for a picnic, but why not bring these healthy and tasty options to your next event?
Take Advantage of What’s in Season
There are plenty of vegetables and fruits to include in your picnic basket now that they're in season! Summer fruits such as peaches, berries, cherries and watermelon are popular favorites as well as vegetables like tomatoes, corn and zucchini. Instead of using heavy mayonnaise, try making a broccoli or potato salad with a yogurt dressing to cut the calories and fat. Substitute more veggies into a pasta salad to reduce the carbs while keeping it healthy. Another tasty and healthy option is grilled vegetables. They keep you full but are packed with nutrients.
Raw veggies paired with hummus, salsas and yogurt dressings are much healthier than chips and crackers. Bring apple or celery alongside peanut butter to have fun, alternative options. With all the seasonal veggies available to you, you can put together a delicious and nutritious salad with vinaigrettes rather than heavy, cream-based dressings.
In addition to healthy appetizers, it's just as important to have a healthy main dish as well! Rather than the traditional burgers and fried chicken, why not try a roasted chicken or premade, healthy wraps or pitas? If you plan on grilling, why not try leaner meats such as turkey breast, pork tenderloin or lean beef? Veggie burgers and skinless chicken breasts are also healthy options. Use whole grain bread rather than white, processed bread, and your main dish will certainly be filling and healthy.
Beverages and Dessert
Picnics are a great way to enjoy the spring weather, but be sure to have plenty of water available to avoid dehydration. Other beverages can include unsweetened ice tea or watered-down lemonade and other fruit drinks. For dessert, try watermelon wedges or a fruit salad. If pastries are included, try to keep the portions small and on the lighter side.
Just because you are watching your diet does not mean you cannot have fun picnicking this season! Stay health-conscious while preparing your meals by using the resources around you, and you'll be sure to enjoy perfect picnic outings..