Tips on Healthy Foods That Pack Easily
Summertime is the perfect time for eating outdoors. And with July being National Picnic Month, it’s the ideal time to think about your next al fresco feast.
When planning a picnic, many people rely on old-school, unhealthy comfort foods. While greasy fried chicken and mayo-laden pasta salads may taste great, they’re not great for you. Wouldn’t it be better if you could pack delicious food that didn’t blow your healthy eating plan?
Below are some tasty summer treats that you can feel good about eating:
Whole Grain Pasta Salad or Quinoa Salad
Whole grain salads are the perfect substitute for more traditional picnic fair – just choose your favorite grain or healthy pasta and toss in whatever nutritious add-ins you like. Chopped vegetables, beans, and hard-boiled egg are all excellent choices. Just steer clear of the mayonnaise when it comes to your dressing and opt for a healthy oil or vinegar-based topping instead.
Sandwiches are a picnic favorite for a reason – they’re easily packable, cheap, and the options are endless. Luckily, when you opt for whole grain breads or wraps, lean proteins, and nutritious toppings, sandwiches are still a great choice. One tip: store-bought meats can be full of added sugars and high in sodium. Check ingredients carefully before purchasing or use homemade leftovers instead.
What’s easier than grabbing a pre-cooked chicken from the supermarket on the way to the park? Rotisserie chickens are great because they taste fantastic on their own or you can add them to many of the other dishes that you’ve brought along. Just grab a fork, shred some chicken, and throw it on top of your pasta salad, greens, or in a wrap.
Cut Vegetables and Dip
During the summer months, it’s easy to find fresh, local produce on the cheap. Chop up whatever is in season and serve it with your favorite side. Hummus, guacamole, or even bean dip are great substitutions for the usual store-bought French onion concoctions.
Olives and Pickles
Most supermarkets today offer an olive/pickle bar. Stop by and fill up a few small containers with a variety of treats. They’re a great finger food that is easy to pick up and eat without utensils, plus they’re packed with probiotics.
Whole Grain Chips and Fresh Salsa
Look for a chip with whole grains listed as the first ingredient and low levels of sodium and saturated fats. As for the salsa – make it at home! It’s super easy, it’ll taste better, and you’ll avoid all the yucky added sugars and preservatives present in many store-bought varieties.
Fresh fruit is easy to come by in the summer – and it’s so refreshing on a hot day! Whole peaches and nectarines, sliced watermelon, or handfuls of berries are all amazing options. If you’re feeling snazzy, mix them all up and make a delicious fruit salad.
Cups of yogurt are easy to pack, and they can be just as tasty as a frozen treat. Opt for a plain variety and top it with fresh fruit or homemade granola for a delicious parfait.
Angel Food Cake
If baked goods are a must, opt for this lower-calorie option. With no egg yolks and no butter, this cake is naturally fat-free. Top it with fresh berries and light whipped cream for a summery twist.
Make your next outing healthy and avoid the post-picnic guilt!