Shaklee is pleased to bring you nutrition articles to help you lead a healthier life, and this week, with permission from the Harvard School of Public Health, we bring you some summer picnic tips.
We all love the idea of a picnic in the park, on the beach, or in the backyard while the sun is shining. However, we also know how much work a picnic can be! Without careful preparation and planning, a picnic can end up being spoiled food and soggy sandwiches. But don’t stress! Here are a few things you can do to prepare for your perfect healthy summertime picnic.
Be picky about food
Okay—maybe not too picky, but the fact is some food choices work better for picnics than others. Your picnic food is exposed to the hot sun even if you have a cooler, so packing food that won’t wilt, melt, or spoil quickly is important!
Here are some picnic food ideas from the Harvard School of Public Health:
- Make vegetable kabobs with raw or lightly grilled, cubed zucchini, summer squash, and bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. Pair with heat-friendly dips such as salsa, pesto, hummus, or baba ganoush (pureed eggplant).
- Slice peaches, mango, melon, strawberries, and pineapple or any other combination of fruit to create a brightly colored fruit salad. Or, finely dice the fruit and sprinkle with cinnamon, lime juice, and lime zest to create a fruit salsa. Serve on top of mini brown rice cakes.
- While soft, high-moisture cheeses can spoil, firm, lower-moisture cheeses like cheddar or Parmigiano-Reggiano are good alternatives. For a savory-sweet dessert, serve thin cheese wedges with walnuts or shelled pistachios and dried fruit like figs, apricots, cherries, mango, or pineapple.
When it comes to sandwiches, go light with the spreads so that they don’t become soggy after a long day. You could also try wraps as an alternative; they usually require very few ingredients and hold their shape the whole day!
We know what you’re thinking, but there is more than one way to be responsible with picnic beverages! Lose the soda cans and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated all day! It’s okay to treat yourself a little bit, but try not to add too much sugar to your picnic meal. You could also try infusing water with different combinations of fruit to add some flavor without too much sugar.
Don’t forget the essentials: napkins, utensils, plates, cups, etc. Plastic containers with lids may be useful for storing fragile food or preventing sandwiches from being smashed. If it’s very hot outside, it’s a good idea to store your food in a cooler or insulated container. You could even pack frozen water bottles to double as an ice pack and cold beverage. Lastly, don’t forget the paper towels and wet wipes for easy cleanup later.
An overflowing trash bin is a common sight at cookouts and picnics. Instead of bringing disposable paperware and utensils, soda cans, and single-use water bottles, use products made of glass, bamboo, cloth, wood, ceramic, or stainless steel that can be washed and reused.
Try picnic foods that don’t require utensils; sandwiches and finger foods are great options! Also, bring an extra bag for trash or recyclable items that you can put in your bins at home.
Get the basket and roll out the blanket—it’s the perfect time for a picnic!
Read the entire article on the Harvard School of Public Health blog.