By Lauren Winters, RD, LD
As the weather gets warmer, more and more outdoor activities start to fill up our leisure time. Whether you’re attending your nephew’s baseball game or bounding through the park with your dog, chances are you’re going to get hungry. With a little planning ahead, an outdoor picnic can fit right into your plan!
Safety First: Keep your food cool in an insulated bag or cooler with ice. Ideally, perishable foods like meats, cheeses, and cut vegetables should stay at or below 40°F. If these foods are out of the refrigerator for longer than 4 hours total, throw them out!
Keep it Simple: There are lots of simple, portable Fresh and Lean foods.
- Try a lettuce wrap stuffed with your choice of meat or other protein, low-fat cheese, and lots of fresh veggies like peppers, cucumbers, or tomatoes. Don’t forget about condiments like a little sliced onion or mustard.
- Whip up some low maintenance deviled eggs with a squirt of mustard, and a half tablespoon of low-fat mayo or plain yogurt for each yolk (1/2 condiment, ½ healthy fat). For a festive look, dust the tops with paprika or sprinkle with chives. To transport these without a special container, place two deviled egg halves together with yolks facing each other and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Laughing Cow® Cheese Wedge spread on a celery stick can become the iconic, kid-friendly, Ants on Log with a few almonds pressed into the cheese (1 condiment, 1 optional snack).
- If you’re feeling fancy, wrap asparagus spears in low sodium deli meat spread with a Laughing Cow® Cheese Wedge (1 oz leaner protein, 1 condiment).
Stay Hydrated: On days where it is hot outside or you are more active, you may need more than your usual 64 oz of water. Try to pack a bottle or two with you if you’re going to be outside for a long time.
With these tips, and your own creativity, you can take your Fresh and Leans on your adventures to the great outdoors!
More Picnic Recipes:
This is a version of the chicken salad my college roommate made every year for our annual Christmas party-proof that it’s good in any season!
(1 green, 1 leaner protein, 1 healthy fat, 2 condiments)
6oz shredded cooked chicken
2 sliced scallions
¼ cup diced celery
2 Laughing Cow® Garlic and Herb Spreadable Cheese Wedges
1 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
Black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and serve with celery stalks as dippers.
(2oz leaner protein, 1 green, 1 condiment)
2 low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks
½ cup cherry tomatoes
5-10 fresh basil leaves
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Black pepper to taste
Wooden skewers (for assembly)
Cut cheese sticks into ½ inch pieces. Thread a cheese cub onto a skewer, followed by a tomato, followed by a basil leaf. Repeat until all tomatoes and cheese are used. Place skewers into a portable container and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle black pepper all over to taste.