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Picnics Are Fun, But You Can Make Them Nutritious, Too

Oct 20, 2007
When determing the menu for a picnic, the name of the game is tasty. But, tasty doesn't have to equate to unhealthy. A picnic menu can be just as nutritious and easy as a meal you would serve at home.

Picnic appetizers keep guests from going stir crazy while they wait for the grill to warm up. Prepare or buy a container of veggie dip. If you buy the dip, purchase the light version. When whipping up a dip, substitute regular ranch dressing with a ranch seasoning mix and a container of low fat sour cream. The taste is just as flavorful but without all of the added calories.

To accompany your dip, consider a raw vegetable platter. Vegetables are less heavy than chips and they won't negatively impact your waistline if you over indulge. Preparing the vegetables the eve of 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 kids require salty snacks, opt for the baked variety. Most snack companies make a baked, lower fat option of their popular snacks. Even better, one hundred calorie snack bags will keep them from consuming too many of their favorite snacks.

Frozen burger patties don't have to be diet busters. Choose from turkey burger patties or 98% lean hamburger. These alternatives are tasty and will benefit your family's health. When dressing the burger, add a generous slice of tomato, onion, and/or lettuce.

The more food items you can make ahead of time, the more calm the actual picnic will be. Chicken breast or seafood kabobs can be purchased fresh directly from the meat department of the local grocer. Keep them in a ice packed cooler until ready to grill. A side dish of brown rice can be served with the kabobs for a complete meal.

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

When it comes to drinks, opt for 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 the end of a health conscious way of eating. Healthier menu items can be managed even on the grill. Pre-planning can keep the menu less filling not to mention easy and stress-free.
About the Author
For more nutritious eating tips and recipes from Christine Steendahl, "The Menu Mom", check out http://www.themenumom.com
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