A Peek Inside the Dietitian’s Picnic Basket

By | 2018-06-04T20:05:29+00:00 June 4th, 2018|

People tend to fall into two basic food preparation categories: those who pack food, and those who prefer to purchase food when away from home. However, if you are planning a picnic, there’s nothing better than preparing a perfect feast ahead of time in order to enjoy the serenity of the day with no worry about what to eat. It can be tricky to figure out what to bring, and easy grab and go items are not always the most nutritious, so I’ve broken it all down for you to make your preparation as easy as possible:

Beverages: Water is a must, especially on warm summer days that may involve some combination of frisbee-throwing, playground climbing, or swimming. I like to make my H2O more interesting by adding things like cucumber slices and mint leaves; but just about any fruit, vegetable, or fresh herb works. Experiment with new flavors, and make hydration a little more fun! Ideally, bring a large water jug or multiple insulated bottles so there is enough water for all picnic guests. Other healthy choices to consider include sparkling water, unsweetened tea, or unsweetened coconut water.

Appetizers: Start out with a picnic classic: deviled eggs. Packed with protein and important nutrients like iron, calcium, biotin, and lutein, eggs are a valuable addition to any menu. Want to lighten up your recipe up a bit? Swap out the regular mayo for nonfat plain yogurt to keep them creamy without all the fat. Other favorite starters include sliced veggies with hummus, or corn tortilla chips with fresh pico de gallo or salsa. Both crowd-friendly finger foods that helps meet your veggie goals for the day.

Mains: Grab those skewers, and throw together some killer picnic-style kabobs for your crew. Food just tastes way better on a stick, right? Layer them up with colorful veggies, fruits, cheese, and meats for a well-balanced meal. Easy to make, and easy to eat, kabobs are also super versatile when it comes to flavor. Serve them with grilled corn-on-the-cob, or a cold salad with nutritious additions like beans, sweet corn, avocado, tomato, and quinoa. Toss with your favorite light dressing and seasonings for a satisfying side.

Dessert: My favorite day-trip treats are dark-chocolate dipped strawberries. Light and nutritious, but also satisfyingly sweet. If that’s not your thing, pack up some ice-cold watermelon wedges, or angel food cake topped with fresh berries.

Feeling inspired to dig out that picnic basket, and plan an outdoor date? Just remember to keep those perishables in a cooler packed with ice and to keep them at a safe temperature. On a steamy hot day avoid foods that are going to make a melty mess. Also, consider packing up some extra hand wipes and sunscreen, so your skin is as happy as your belly!

About the Author:

Lauren is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based out of the NYC metro area. Her passion for improving lives through good nutrition was born early on, when she experienced first hand the positive impact of healthy eating. After completing formal training, Lauren went on to earn a certificate of training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In addition to writing, Lauren also provides individual nutrition counseling and teaches nutrition classes through the VHPGO portal. When she isn’t busy encouraging healthy habits in her VHP clients, she focuses on her toughest clients: her spouse & three daughters.