Healthy Picnics

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Summer’s here and picnics are a great way to entertain family and friends. See the recipes on page 76 for some tasty dishes. Here are some ideas for items to pack to keep your picnics fun and healthy. Don’t forget to pack games and balls to help increase exercise and activity at your next picnic.
Low fat foods for the picnic basket (non-perishables)
• Pretzels
• Salsa for dipping (unopened jar)
• Whole grain buns/bread
• Baked potato or tortilla chips
Low fat foods for the cooler (perishables)
• Sliced turkey breast
• Potato salad*
• Pasta salad*
• Coleslaw*
• Vegetable, pasta, rice or bean salad (store low fat dressing separately in cooler & add immediately before serving)
• Watermelon or cantaloupe wedges
• Fruit salad (berries, kiwi and grapes)
• Whole fresh fruit (peaches, apples, etc.)
• Broccoli florets
• Carrots and celery sticks
• Cherry tomatoes
• Cucumber slices
• Lite mayonnaise
*To reduce fat in potato salad or coleslaw, substitute nonfat plain yogurt or nonfat sour cream for 1/2 of the mayonnaise and use lite mayonnaise. You can also use light or fat free salad dressing.
Cooler #2
• Water
• Sparkling water
• Fruit juice spritzers
• Decaffeinated sodas and tea
To lighten up the grill**
• Skinless chicken breast
• Vegetarian burgers & hot dogs (if you must have the real thing, eat only one)
• Fish
• Corn-on-the-cob
• Vegetable kabobs (zucchini, tomatoes, onions, etc.)
• Grilled pineapple or plantain
**To reduce your potential cancer risk (i.e. decrease heterocyclic amines), the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends not burning or charring grilled meat, fish or poultry.  Trim all visible fat and marinate these foods before grilling to decrease the production of heterocyclic amines.
Calorie burning physical activities
• Volley ball
• Softball
• Swimming
• Walking
• Roller Blading
• Throwing Frisbees
By Sandy Hernandez, MS,RD

Summer Food Safety
To make sure all your meals stay safe, we have selected some top tips from the National Food Processors Association:
• Plan just the right amount of foods to take so that you won’t have to worry about leftovers.
• Plan the menu with an eye to safe food handling. Do not use recipes that contain raw eggs.
• Hand washing is critical to prevent the spread of bacteria, choose a picnic location with facilities for washing or pack disposable towelettes.
• Pre-cook foods in plenty of time to thoroughly chill them in the refrigerator.
• Carry the cooler inside the air-conditioned car, not the trunk.
• Use a separate cooler for drinks so the one containing perishable food won’t be constantly opened and closed.
• When handling raw meat, remove from the cooler only the amount that will fit on the grill.
• When taking foods off the grill, do not put the cooked items on the same platter, which held the raw meat.
More food safety information is available on NFPA’s Consumer Website at

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