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Picnic Food Ideas for a Healthy and Easy Picnic

by: Christine Steendahl
When planning the menu for a picnic, the name of the game is tasty. But, tasty doesn’t have to mean unhealthy. A picnic menu can be just as healthy and easy as a meal you would prepare at home. Picnic appetizers keep guests from getting bored while they wait for the grill to warm up. Prepare or buy a container of veggie dip. If you buy the dip, buy the light variety. When making a dip, opt for ranch seasoning mix and a container of fat free sour cream. The taste is just as flavorful but without all of the extra calories.To accompany your dip, try a raw vegetable platter. Vegetables are less heavy than chips and they won’t adversely impact your waistline if you over indulge. Preparing the vegetables the night before gives you more time the day of the picnic. Vegetables can be sliced into decorative chips with a crinkle cutter for added variety.

If the little ones must have salty snacks, choose the baked variety. Most snack companies make a baked, reduced fat alternative of their popular snacks. Even better, one hundred calorie snack bags will keep them from eating too many of their favorite snacks.

Frozen burger patties don’t have to be fattening anymore. Choose from turkey burger patties or 98% lean hamburger. These alternatives are full of flavor and will benefit your family’s health. When adding condiments, add a generous slice of tomato, onion, and/or lettuce.

The more food items you can make before hand, the calmer the actual picnic will be. Chicken breast or seafood skewers can be purchased fresh directly from the meat department of the local grocer. Keep them on ice until ready to grill. A side dish of brown rice can accompany the kabobs for a complete meal.

Dessert at a picnic usually consists of cake or some other sweet confection. Fruit salad is a healthy option on dessert. A combination of sweet fruits topped with coconut pieces or served with a fruit dip satisfies the sweet tooth. Try grilled fruits like pineapples or peaches for a tangy tasting dessert.

When it comes to drinks, choose bottled water or juices. Sugar free flavor packets can be added to bottled water for a fruity drink if you don’t want to drink juice. If picnickers will be in the sun a lot, water offers better hydration than soda drinks.

A picnic doesn’t have to be a departure from a health conscious way of eating. Healthier menu selections can be managed even on the grill. Pre-planning can keep the menu light not to mention easy and stress-free.

 About the Author
For additional healthy eating tips and recipes from Christine Steendahl, “The Menu Mom”, check out http://www.themenumom.com

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