Today is National Picnic Day, which means summer is officially here. Pool parties, picnics and barbecues can be found in backyards and parks across the nation. These are all fun times to spend with friends and family, but there are things you need to do maintain good health. When you head outside for a fun meal, remember the following at your next event:
- Replace potato salads, macaroni salads and other mayonnaise-based side dishes with a fresh veggie salad. Toss summer’s best produce—like avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes and arugula—with a light vinaigrette dressing for a refreshing, vitamin-packed salad. Olive oil, white, red and balsamic vinegars should become your best friend.
- Stack chunks of fruit on a stick to make fruit kebabs. They travel well and kids are more likely to eat healthy foods that are easy and fun to eat.
- Skip onion and ranch dips that are loaded with fat and make a protein-packed bean dip instead. Cannellini beans, Greek yogurt, olive oil and lemon juice make a great dip for veggies or pita chips. Just add your favorite herbs or spices!
- Sandwiches are a picnic staple. Make sure yours are healthy by using whole grain bread, lean meats (chicken and turkey are good options), lots of veggies and a low-fat spread like mustard. Add avocados, pickles, hummus or fresh lemon juice to any sandwich for even more nutrients.
- A picnic isn’t complete without a dessert. Cut out processed sugars by making cookies out of oats and bananas or freezing your favorite whole fruit juice into popsicles. There are tons of healthy dessert recipes for the perfect picnic.
Get outside and have fun this summer with these smart, party-ready tips. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30, and reapply every two hours. For more healthy recipe ideas, visit preventcancer.org/tag/recipes.