How to Prep the Perfect Picnic

You finally did it! You’ve got a date scheduled. Look at you!

What is your activity of choice? A summer picnic in the park. Now you just have to prepare and pack some delicious food. The only problem is…

no-idea-what-you-are-doing

Never fear. We’ve got your back. Here are some tips to help you fix a nutritious (and delicious) outdoor meal.

eat-the-rainbow

1. Taste the rainbow.

During summer, fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful. They are also really good for you! Fruits and vegetables are naturally low-calorie and a guilt-free way to bulk-up your meals. They also contain lots of antioxidants and fiber, which aids in digestion. According to the USDA, more than 30 different varieties of fruits and vegetables are in-season during the summer. This includes watermelon, apples, strawberries, and green beans. Fill up your picnic basket with a colorful fruit salad paired with vanilla yogurt dip.

 

tomato-salad

2. Pack in the protein, fiber, and vitamins.

Impress your picnic partner with your nutrition savvy. Opt for a healthful main dish like a whole wheat wrap filled with veggies and lean protein. Whether it’s chicken or tofu, protein keeps you feeling full and supports your muscle growth. You can add a variety of other ingredients, such as sun-dried tomatoes, spinach leaves, cucumbers, avocados, and grated cheese. Pair with a tomato mozzarella salad. Here is a simple recipe:

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1⁄2 lb fresh mozzarella cheese (if all you can find is the tub, make sure to pat it real dry)
  • 1⁄2 cup torn basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt or sea salt, to taste

Directions: Cut up the tomatoes and mozzarella into small cubes. Add the basil leaves, vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle on a little salt and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.

 

physical-activity

3. Add a dash of activity.

To work up an appetite, incorporate physical activity into your day in the great outdoors. A study published in The American Journal of Medicine found that, for most Americans, physical activity can protect against weight gain. It also lowers the health-related risks associated with obesity and abdominal obesity.  Toss a Frisbee, throw a football, or play a rousing game of bocce. It’s fun and good for you.

bring-a-cooler

4. Keep it safe

Prepping, packing, and transporting food to a picnic should be done carefully. Giving your date food poisoning is not a great look. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers tips on how to keep your food safe when you don’t have a refrigerator or freezer available:

  • Put cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Keep your cooler at 40°F or below to prevent bacterial growth.

  • Put beverages in a separate cooler from any perishable food. As picnickers open and reopen the beverage cooler, perishable foods won’t be continuously exposed to the warm outdoor temperatures.

  • Clean your produce. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water before packing them in the cooler - including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Dry fruits and vegetables with a clean cloth towel or a paper towel.

date-time

Now you’re armed with all the tools you need for a successful picnic. Get out there in the warm, fresh air, and enjoy the day with a special someone.