Picnic season in 3… 2… 1…

For many of us, packing a picnic basket and heading off to the beach or a nearby park is one of the highlights of summer. But traditional picnic foods like sausages, fried chicken, fatty sauces and white bread aren’t always the healthiest. The good news is that with just a tiny tweak, you can have great tasting food that is also healthy for you. Let us present our best and healthiest tips to make your next picnic a hit!

Start with the veggies

The key to a fresh and healthy picnic is to plan around the vegetables! Just like with other balanced meals, when you start with vegetables, they become the main dish, rather than the side.

When choosing your picnic vegetables:
• Preferably, go for hard vegetables – they are usually more packed with fibre and easier to carry, as they are not likely to brake
• Cut them up in shapes that are easy to eat and don’t require utensils
• Choose vegetables that taste great when dipped in hummus!

That could, for example, be carrots, cucumbers, cauliflowers, broccoli, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. All cut into sticks or bite sized pieces.

Quick Protein Blend Hummus

200 g canned chickpeas
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tbsp of Protein Blend
5 tbsp water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Blend everything together.

Secondly, the fruit!

A melon salad represents the real taste of summer and is an excellent meal for that time of year, as it is both hydrating and thirst quenching.

Here is a suggestion of a great tasting version. Remember to bring toothpicks for easy eating!

Summer Melon Salad

1/2 watermelon, scooped into balls
1 honeydew, scooped into balls
1 cantaloupe, scooped into balls
200 g green grapes (removed from stem)
mint leaves, just for flavour

Most fruits work great for picnics. Just make sure you wash, peel and cut them into appropriately sized pieces beforehand.

Rethink grilling

If you are planning to have a barbeque at your picnic, try and explore the vegetable kingdom instead of going straight to the meats and sausages. Vegetables such as Portobello mushrooms, red peppers, zucchini and onions are really tasty when grilled. Just toss them with some olive oil, vinegar and some salt and pepper and you’ll have a great tasting, healthy main or side dish.

If you want to have something a bit more “meaty” you can go for lean meats, chicken and fish. Or why not try the world’s new favourite cheese, halloumi – it’s great on the barbecue and works excellent as an ingredient of a veggie burger.

Add some whole grain

Breads, buns and pasta can add on a lot of calories, but they don’t contain a lot of nutrients. So, try to limit the amount of starches in you picnic basket, and wherever you can, make them wholegrain. Try and exchange the hamburger bun for a whole grain version, and the pasta with whole grain pasta. Or why not try something completely new and make a hearty salad with a base of brown rice, quinoa or whole grain couscous!

Healthy beverages

Summer picnic beverages are usually not the most nutritious: sugar packed sodas and lemonades for the kids and beers and wines for the adults. But did you know that those beverages are very high in calories and full of sugar? Sometimes, the amount of calories coming from beverages can add up to a third of the total calorie intake during a meal! But it doesn’t contribute anything to your satiety.

It is also quite easy to get dehydrated if you spend time out in the sun. Kids are most susceptible, as they usually run around playing and don’t drink enough water. Mixing fresh berries and citrus fruits with ice cold water is a healthy, easy and tasty way of getting the hydration you need.

Sweet sweets

No picnic is complete without dessert! And who can resist such summer delicacies as strawberries, raspberries and peaches? But if you usually have cookies, brownies or cupcakes, you may want something a bit different. Try making these delicious banana pancakes, they can be prepared in advance and just served with fresh berries and maybe some honey.

Banana Pancakes (8 pcs)

2 bananas
2 eggs
100 ml of oatmeal
1 tbsp of psyllium seed fibre
1 tsp of vanilla powder

Blend everything together. Fry up pancakes in a small amount of coconut oil.

Be active

Our last advice for a healthy picnic is to include some activity. Enjoy the fresh air, take a hike, play some football or a fun game with all your friends. Because nothing brings on an appetite like a little bit of exercise!