River Park

Healthy summer: what to pack for a summer picnic

In the summer, many families look for ways to spend more time out together. Whether it's camping, a day at the beach or the lake, or even just hanging out in the backyard, the idea of ​​a picnic is sure to come up!

Summer picnic foods are a traditional part of the season, but unluckily, many baskets are packed with foods high in sugar, fat, and salt and not so rich in important nutrients such as fibre and protein.

That is why we have prepared a list of various foods from all major groups that you can include in your summer outing this year:

Fruits: Watermelon, apples, bananas, berries, peaches, and oranges are a great addition to any picnic preparation because they are suitable for both breakfast and dessert. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, some of which include vitamin C, potassium, and fibre. Fresh fruits also have high-water content, which can help keep you and your family hydrated throughout the summer heat.

Vegetables: Like fruits, vegetables are a great addition to your picnic or may even be the stars of the show! Make the most out of the profusion of fresh summer vegetables by serving them as а salad or grilled. Include zucchini, tomatoes, onions, corn, green beans, and peppers as a delicious side dish.

Food safety advice (1): Be sure to rinse all fruits and vegetables with lukewarm water before consumption.

Grain foods: When packing for a healthy picnic, choose products that are whole grain instead of fortified. Whole grains offer more fibre and B-vitamins, as well as other minerals and antioxidants. Use wholegrain bread for sandwiches and burgers, as well as crackers instead of potato chips.

Protein: Many picnics regularly include cooking burgers, hot dogs, chicken, or seafood. These foods are sources of protein that help keep you full and are important for muscle development and recovery. Some of these foods (especially burgers and hot dogs) may contain more fat and sodium, so look for minced beef or opt for turkey meatballs for your burgers.

When cooking chicken, use chicken breasts for a healthier option. Remember that meat is not the only source of protein. Beans are a great vegetarian option and can be served roasted as part of a salad or as an ingredient in a burrito.

Food safety advice (2): When packaging meat products, make sure that they are stored in a refrigerated container that does not exceed 4 ° C. Keep raw meat separate from cooked food using other cutting boards, plates and utensils.

Dairy products: Dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt are also important for a well-balanced diet. You can use Bulgarian or feta cheese to garnish the watermelon (many of us love this sweet and savoury combination), and you can use yoghurt as a substitute for mayonnaise in dishes like potato salad or pasta.

Food safety advice (3): Similarly to meat, dairy products ought to be stored in a cool container. Don't forget to keep dairy products separate from raw meats!

Last but not least, it is also important to remember to stay hydrated during your summer picnic. Bring plenty of water and sweeten it with some fresh fruit if desired.