Summer days are stretching longer, and the temperature is slowly rising. It’s time to enjoy the sunshine wherever possible, after a long day at work there’s nothing more satisfying than taking your shoes off, setting down a picnic blanket and enjoying your evening meal with friends and loved ones outside. Beats sweating over a hot stove any day.
Equipment to bring
First timers? Here’s a quick list of some items to pack when planning a picnic.
Plastic / paper plates
Plastic bag for rubbish.
Outdoor picnics don’t have to be filled with fried chicken, processed meats and saturated fats. The typical picnic includes: potato salad, greasy burgers, chips and beer. The key to a healthy refreshing summer time picnic is (just like any other meal) making your fruit and vegetable dishes the main attraction, rather than the side dish. Opting for lean meats, fish or chicken and wholegrains. Summer season is the height of the fresh fruit and vegetable produce, take advantage of the colourful foods and fill your picnic basket with deliciously succulent peaches, cherries, watermelon, tomatoes, corn, courgette …. (the list is endless)
Vegetable sticks (broccoli, carrot, cucumber, corn, red pepper) with low-fat dip / hummous.
Crackers/ celery sticks and peanut butter
Baked tortilla chips and salsa
Nuts and dried fruit
Avoid creamy pasta / potato salads and opt for lighter tomato based options.
Grilled halloumi salad
Vegetable skewers / Chicken skewers
Corn on the cob
Pita sandwiches / wraps – with turkey, chicken, tuna or salmon – with lettuce and vegetables.
BBQ –lean hamburgers, chicken breast, salmon, veggie burgers.
Couscous/ brown rice / quinoa salad
Tip: try an avoid/ limit mayonnaise as salad base or dressing, instead use dressings made with less oil and more vinegar or other added liquids such as fruit juices. Moderation is one direct to take, bearing in mind that one tablespoon of mayonnaise contains 104kcal, 11 grams of fat and 2 grams saturated fat.