Everyone loves a picnic – right? When I think back to being a kid, picnic memories include my family, fun foods, the mountains, the pool, the park, and my own backyard. We had a big, wooden picnic table and when the weather cooperated, Mom would spread out the plastic tablecloth and get a picnic dinner going. Back then, grilling wasn’t such a big deal like it is today but that was not a problem. Here are some of the foods that my sister, brother, and I loved at our picnic: crispy chicken drumsticks, deviled eggs, watermelon, potato salad, pickles, and lemonade.
Picnic Favorites and Healthy Ways to Make Them
Yes, picnics and good nutrition can co-exist. Not only that – they are a perfect fit. When I go back to my childhood favorite picnic foods, I can think of a healthy recipe for every one of them. Here’s how to do it:
Crispy Chicken Drumsticks: The chicken drumstick is an ultimate finger-food that is packed with protein and not too fatty. To make this a healthy way, either grill drumsticks with a dried herb rub or bake them with a sprinkling of cracker crumbs. Serve drumsticks with a moist hand wipe for cleanup at your picnic.
Deviled Eggs: An egg provides a nice boost of protein as well as essential fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E, D, and K which protect the health of your eyes and brain. Deviled eggs are easy to make with a good nutrition sauce such as light mayonnaise, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, or a mashed up and ripe avocado.
Watermelon: This summer fruit is the hero of everyone’s picnic. It is juicy, sweet, and helps with hydration. Vitamins A and C come with every bite of delicious watermelon and fiber, too. If you can, chill the watermelon before cutting it into slices at your picnic.
Potato Salad: A potato is a favorite, all-around food that provides carbohydrates and a boost of vitamin C and potassium. To make potato salad a healthy way, mix boiled and cut-up potatoes with a light dressing. If you like it creamy, then use mostly nonfat plain Greek yogurt along with a bit of spicy mustard, salt and pepper. If you like it vinaigrette style, then dress the potatoes mostly with extra virgin olive oil along with a bit of balsamic vinegar, herbs, spices, salt and pepper.
Pickles: A pickle is a vinegar and salt flavored cucumber which is crunchy and hydrating for your body. To make it a healthy way, slice up fresh cucumbers into a bowl, add some vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and stir them up. Then cover the bowl and put it in the fridge overnight. Stir again. The pickles will be a fun condiment at your picnic.
Lemonade: Fresh lemons make a delicious and nutritious lemonade drink that overflows with vitamin C. To make it a healthy way, squeeze one lemon per person, add ¾ cup water per person, and 1 teaspoon sugar per person. Stir up the lemonade until all the sugar dissolves and then add ice cubes when serving it at your picnic.
Picnic Month Inspiration
It’s Picnic Month and a perfect time to re-think your picnic fare. Will you try to make favorite picnic foods the healthy way? I hope so. When you make good nutrition a priority at your fresh air feast, then you’ll feel the difference! To fully enjoy summer, also don’t miss your local Farmer’s Market with all the nutritious and colorful fruits and vegetables that will inspire creative vegetarian combinations.
What will be on your Picnic Month Menu for good nutrition?