Pack the Perfect Picnic

Good Health LifestylesRecipes

July may be National Picnic Month, but if you love eating alfresco, any day when the sun is shining and the weather is warm is a perfect day for a pop-up picnic! But for all its joy, picnic food can also make you sick if you’re not careful. Read on for some picnic safety tips, as well as our take on healthy and delicious dishes best served in the great outdoors.

 

Easy Cobb Salad 

Serves 4

Loaded with crispy bacon, creamy avocado, bright tomatoes, and protein-rich chicken, this salad hits all the major nutrients with every mouthwatering bite. Plus, it’s perfect for anyone following a paleo, keto, or dairy-free diet.

Ingredients:

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 pastured eggs
  • 5 slices sugar-free, nitrate-free bacon
  • 2 large heads romaine lettuce, preferably organic
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, preferably organic
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine the garlic powder, paprika, salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small bowl. Rub each chicken breast with the mixture and refrigerate until ready to grill.
  2. Place the eggs in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, then remove the pot from the heat. Cover and let sit for 10–15 minutes. Drain the eggs and rinse with cold water. Once cool enough to handle, peel and cut each egg into quarters. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the grill.
  4. While the grill is heating, cook the bacon in a frying pan until crisp. Drain on a paper towel, then crumble. Set aside.
  5. Grill the chicken 5–6 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from grill and slice into strips. Refrigerate until needed.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and the remaining oil and pepper. Set aside.
  7. To assemble, chop the lettuce, peel and chop the avocado, and slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Place the lettuce on a large platter. Arrange the chicken, avocado, bacon, eggs, and tomatoes in rows on top of the lettuce. Drizzle with dressing.

Per serving: 441 cal; 29.9g total fat; 11.1g carb; 33.4g protein; 477mg sodium; 3g sugar

 

Fresh Fruit Salad

Serves 4

Pack up a bowlful of antioxidants for your next picnic! Eaten as is or with our optional yogurt-lime dressing, this salad is sure to be a favorite.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cubed
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
  • ½ pint blackberries
  • 4 ripe kiwis, peeled, halved, and sliced

For the optional lime-yogurt dressing:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (or use plain coconut milk yogurt for a dairy-free option)
  • 15 drops stevia
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

Directions:

  1. Toss all the fruit in a large serving bowl.
  2. To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl. Serve on the side.

Per serving: 57 cal; 0.4g total fat; 13.9g carb; 1g protein; 220mg sodium; 9g sugar

 

Better-for-You Flourless Brownies

Serves 12

These gluten-free flourless brownies are soft, fudgy, and so chocolatey that you won’t believe they’re low in sugar and paleo- and keto-friendly. They’re the ideal way to end your perfect picnic!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, softened
  • ¼ cup coconut or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8 square pan with coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, coconut sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, coconut oil, and vanilla until well blended.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture forms a batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.

Per brownie: 111 cal; 8g total fat; 10g carb; 2g protein; 78mg sodium, 4g sugar

 

Tips for a Safer Picnic

Ensure your foods stay safe for the duration of your picnic with these handy tips:

  • Maintain cleanliness during picnic prep. Wash hands, utensils, containers, and work surfaces before handling food to prevent harmful bacteria from spreading.
  • Clean your produce. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water before packing them in the cooler, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Rub firm-skinned fruits and vegetables under running tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water. Dry fruits and vegetables with a clean cloth towel or paper towel.
  • Keep cold food cold. Always place cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Pack food and drinks separately. Consider packing beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in another. That way, as picnickers open and reopen the beverage cooler to replenish their drinks, the perishable foods won’t be exposed to warm outdoor air temperatures.
  • Bring hand sanitizer. This is especially important if your picnic site doesn’t have handwashing facilities.

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