There’s no better way of making the most of a summer’s day than heading off to a beautiful spot in nature and having lunch outdoors. If you’re looking for some creative ideas for a picnic, here are some tips to help you celebrate summer in style.
Healthy picnic food ideas
Having a healthy picnic means packing a meal that fits in well with a varied and balanced diet. Here are a few helpful healthy picnic ideas to help you get off to a great start:
- Add a couple of your five-a-day. After all, what ideal picnic isn’t complete without a punnet of strawberries, carrot sticks with dips, or a freshly made salad?
- Choose starchy foods with more fibre. Opt for wholemeal varieties of bread and pasta, and keep the skins on potatoes.
- Swap protein options that are high in saturated fat for reduced fat or unsaturated fat* options. Choose oily fish, leaner cuts of meat, eggs, beans, pulses, low fat yoghurt and cheese. Bean salads and chickpea dips such as hummus are perfect for a picnic as they are easy to carry and great with whole meal bread and pitta.
So, what could you eat? Here are some healthy picnic food ideas that are portable, delicious, and simple to make:
- Make a picnic loaf: Take a crusty wholegrain loaf or boule and slice it horizontally, like a giant bun. Scoop out the fluffy insides and then pack the hollowed out loaf with a thick layer of a crunchy salad, tomatoes, and other veg, followed by your preferred sandwich filling for protein. Wrap well in clingfilm and leave under a heavy weight to condense. Once at the picnic, this loaf can be sliced into individual portions.
If you’re lowering cholesterol with Flora ProActiv spread (or if your group can’t agree on a single sandwich filling), you might prefer to do this on a smaller scale with an individual bun.
- Make your own dip: Making dips and spreads like hummus or mackerel pate at home is easier than you might think, and make the perfect accompaniment to wholemeal pita and carrot sticks.
- Make a chunky salad: Leafy green salads can go a bit sad and wilted in the heat, so go bold with thickly sliced vegetables and fruit. Our nectarine and pear salad with stilton is a good option: sweet and juicy salad, it comes with wholemeal toast croutons. Keep these separate and sprinkle on before you eat to keep them crispy, and if you’re not aiming to lower your cholesterol levels, spread the croutons with another soft spread, like Flora Buttery, instead of Flora ProActiv.
Healthy picnic ideas for drinks
From soft drinks to fruit juice, sugary drinks are often the downfall of any healthy picnic. But that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to water. For a summer’s day picnic, you’ll want maximum, thirst-quenching refreshment. Here are some drink ideas for a picnic:
Homemade iced tea: Brew tea bags in hot water and cool, then add ice and an optional slice of lemon. If you want to make it sweeter, add up to a teaspoon of honey to taste.
Ginger and lemon steeper: Place slices of lemon and ginger in hot water and steep until cool. Add a teaspoon of honey to sweeten if needed.
Mint, lime and cucumber coolers: Make your own virgin cocktails by mixing soda water, lime, a handful of mint leaves and peelings of cucumber, then chill.
For all the above suggestions, don’t forget to store drinks in a cooling flask or ice pack!
Work up an appetite: fitness ideas for a picnic
Healthy picnic ideas aren’t limited to the contents of your picnic hamper. It’s also a great excuse to explore the great outdoors or play outdoor games. Before tucking into a well-earned lunch, try going on a walk beforehand, or playing a game of rounders in a park. If your local park has a peaceful spot on top of a hill, set yourself the challenge of conquering it before spreading your picnic blanket. Your first bite will never taste better.
A picnic is the perfect way to enjoy a healthy and wholesome day out while making the most of the summer season. For some more tasty recipes to inspire your basket, check out our recipe section here.
* Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. There are many risk factors for coronary heart disease and it is important to take care of all of them to reduce the overall risk of it.
**Flora ProActiv contains plant sterols. A daily intake of 1.5 – 2.4g sterols can lower cholesterol by 7 – 10% in 2 – 3 weeks as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle including plenty of fruits and vegetables. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. As coronary heart disease has many risk factors, more than one may need to be improved to reduce overall risk. Individual results may vary