Picnics are on the rise in the UK and quite right too with all this glorious sunshine we are enjoying. For most of us, packing a picnic basket and heading off to the park or park is a wonderful rite of summer. Add to the mix it’s proven that getting some fresh air and sunshine is good for you, there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t head out. And while traditional picnics of fried chicken, scotch eggs and creamy potato salads, can leave those of us concerned about our waistlines, there are tweaks that can be made which won’t create havoc on your diet. Let’s look at some tips below.
Healthy picnic ideas
Aim for a picnic basket that contains lean meats, fish and chicken. Marinate them the night before with lots of tasty home-made sauces. Try to avoid the ready to eat covered in bread crumbs types found in supermarket shelves. They are full of additives and preservatives.
Summer picnics happen at the height of exotic fresh fruit season so make sure to pack plenty of those. Think strawberries, cherries, berries, blueberries, pineapple and mangoes etc.
Crudities are great to snack on especially if you like to graze when eating out. Chop up red, green and yellow peppers as well as carrot batons, cucumber and celery sticks. Chery tomatoes and radishes are great on the go too.
Homemade dips such as tzatziki, beetroot hummus and red pepper dip are easy to make and contain no preservatives. They are a great accompaniment to crudities.
To keep carbs low try making cauli rice mixed with peas and sweetcorn instead of rice. You will be getting extra vegetables in too and will feel fuller.
Salads and dressings
Make interesting salads and healthier dressings. A Mexican bean salad is easy to make using a can of drained and rinsed black beans, can of sweetcorn, diced red onion, green pepper, tomatoes. For the dressing mix a little olive oil, lime juice, a pinch of cumin and some chilli flakes together and pour over the salad.
Don’t forget beverages to stay hydrated. Avoid sugary drinks and instead opt for water with fruit to give it a healthy twist. Lime, lemon, watermelon and cucumber all work well in natural or spring water. If alcohol is on the menu, stick to wine spritzers, low alcohol beers or spirits with a mixer like vodka, lime and soda.
Some interesting picnic facts
I love a good fact so I did some research on the tradition of picnics. Here are some fascinating facts to get you in the mood for that all-important picnic.
The average person picnics at least three times a year – that’s 94 million picnics per year
The original picnic was a fashionable social event where each guest contributed some food.
The modern fashion for picnics was started by the French after royal parks were opened to the public post 1789 revolution.
Remember the phase “no picnic”? It has been used to describe something difficult since 1884.
The humble cheese sandwich was most popular picnic snack fifty years ago. Today it’s been overtaken by our love of crisps.
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