Picnic-possible: The Healthy Way to Perk Up Your Picnic!

Keeping your kids entertained over summer break is a real challenge! Get them off the couch by proposing a picnic. Now, if you’re thinking hot dogs, potato salad, and fried chips, think again! You’ll be surprised how delicious and easy your lunch can be when you use these healthy tips from FEED to fill your next picnic basket.

Plan Ahead
To ensure a stress-free day, create a menu that is easy to prepare or can be prepared ahead of time. The day before, wash and slice fruit and vegetables; place plates, napkins, and utensils in the basket; and prepare ice packs in the freezer.

Creativity is Key
Let’s be honest, sandwiches can become boring when they include meat and cheese placed between two slices of bread. Kick this staple up a notch by adding left-over grilled vegetables or chicken from the night before. Use hummus or avocado slices, rather than mayonnaise, to add flavor and incorporate unsaturated (good) fats and fiber into your sandwich. Opt for a hearty whole wheat bread, make your sandwich feel gourmet and keep you full all afternoon.

Sides with Spunk
Load your sides up with flavor rather than fat. Prepare a fruit salad the night before with fruits of many colors. Your kids can decide which of their favorite fruits fit the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). Dip veggies in the leftover hummus you used on the sandwich or prepare a fiber-full bean dip with whole grain pita chips.

Dessert Distraction
Rather than sitting on the blanket dishing out dessert, hand the kids a bag of healthy trail mix (see recipe below) and take them on a walk or hike. Their tasty trail mix and the excitement of exploring will distract them from the desire for unhealthy desserts, while increasing activity at the same time!

As you see from these tips from FEED, a healthy picnic does not have to be a challenge! Enjoy your own picnic and have a healthy and active summer!

Trail Mix
2 cups low-sugar, whole-grain cereal and/or air-popped popcorn
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried fruit, such as cranberries, blueberries, apples, or papaya
1 cup nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, or pistachios (omit if there are food allergies)
1 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix. Serve half-cup portions in zippered baggies. Enjoy!

Lara Field MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Specialist in Pediatrics with over a decade of clinical and client experience. When she’s not actively working to keep her clients healthy, she’s a busy mother of two active boys and loves testing new recipes in her kitchen. Follow her on Instagram to see her recipe ideas, product suggestions, and see how she manages a healthy lifestyle @larafield.