Packing a Healthy Family Picnic

Having a picnic outdoors, whether your on your annually beach trip or back at home, picnics can be a great way to change up your routine and have some fun with the family without having to spend a lot of money. But you do not want your meal to be nothing but junk food and unhealthy snacks. It is easy to include healthy options that everyone will enjoy without making it look like the meal is lacking.

Options to Consider

When deciding on what food to bring, remember that you will need to carry everything to your picnic location and it will need to sit outside with only a few ice packs to keep it cool. If it is a very warm day or you are planning on traveling a long distance to your picnic spot, avoid anything that easily spoils when warm, such as milk or cream based dishes.

Raw fruits and vegetables make great healthy additions to picnic fare. There are such a large variety of fruits and veggies to choose from you can easily accommodate a variety of tastes. You do not need to worry about them spoiling without refrigeration and you can eat them without having plates or silverware if you do not want to. Simply slice up some of your favorites and toss them in a container for easy, tasty finger food.

If you are planning to grill or bring along sandwiches, trading out traditional buns and bread with whole grain options can make your food much healthier. Not only do whole grain options avoid the extra sugar that comes with processed carbohydrates but they have more fiber, vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your overall health. You can also include whole grain options in pasta salads and other sides to make them more healthy.

If you are planning a picnic lunch, consider skipping dessert to cut unnecessary sugar and carbs from the meal. You will have fewer things you need to carry to your picnic location and less things to worry about keeping cool and away from insects. If you want to cut down on dessert calories without skipping that part of the meal altogether, consider serving a fruit salad or something simple like cookies instead of a large cake or other extravagant baked good.

Drinks can also add a lot of empty calories to a meal that can easily be avoided. Bringing water and fruit juice to your picnic instead of pop is an easy way to get more nutrition into the meal while cutting a lot of extra sugar and sodium. Keep an eye out for brands that promise one hundred percent juice in their products to sidestep even more added sugar.

Planning Healthy Fun

If your picnic is part of a celebration or special occasion, then remember that it is ok to splurge a little. Keep the meal as healthy as possible without making your family feel like they have to go without. If you add a few extra unhealthy goodies in the picnic basket then agree as a family that you will do some sort of physical activity such as playing a game together or taking a walk to burn off the extra calories.

Packing a healthy picnic is much easier when you have ideas about what to bring. If you are at a loss for easy recipes that are transportable, look online for healthy recipe guides to boost your creativity. Adding a healthy twist such as olive oil based mayonnaise and extra veggies to a traditional potato salad can cut calories and fat with very little effort.

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