AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Sunshine, the perfect spot in the grass and delicious food are the beginnings of an ideal picnic.
Yesterday, April 23, was National Picnic Day and the spring weather is an excellent excuse to get together with family or friends and get outside for fresh air and good food. So grab a cooler – fill it with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy – and head to that perfect outdoor spot to create wonderful memories.
Become a Picnic Pro
When planning a picnic, think about things that won’t be too much hassle. Select recipes that are easy to prepare and travel well from home to outside. For those that have young ones in the house, get them involved in preparing for the picnic by letting them plan part of the menu. Involving children in preparing meals is a great way to encourage them to try different foods.
Let them choose what fruits they enjoy or which perfect picnic spot they would like to visit. The picnic could be at a park with a playground or trees, but it could also be in the backyard under a tree.
After eating, it’s time to start moving. Fun outside activities could involve:
- Throwing a frisbee or football around.
- Playing tag.
- Taking a walk.
- Jogging in the nice weather.
Anything that is fun and active for everybody is the key. Spending time in the sun helps the body make Vitamin D, essential for healthy bone development and a strong immune system.
Perfect Recipes for a Picnic
The following recipes from Live Well Alabama are great easy options for a family to take on a picnic:
Picnic Pasta Salad
- ½ cup fat-free Italian dressing
- ¼ cup onion, diced
- one cucumber, diced
- one bell pepper, diced
- two tomatoes, diced
- one 8-ounce package noodles, cooked
Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Chill and serve.
Cool Cucumber Salad
- two cucumbers, peeled and sliced
- ½ onion, diced
- ½ cup vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dill
- ½ cup water
Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Chill and serve.
Creamy Cucumber Dill Dip
- one cucumber
- 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dill, dried
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
Using a cheese grater, shred cucumber. After shredding, lightly squeeze shredded cucumber in paper towel to remove excess moisture. Place shredded cucumber in bowl and add all other ingredients. Mix well. Serve or refrigerate for up to four days.
Sassy Strawberry Salsa
- one lemon, juiced
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- 1 pint of strawberries, diced
- ½ small red onion, diced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- one jalapeño, seeded and diced (optional)
Mix lemon juice and honey in a large bowl. Stir in strawberries, onion, cilantro and jalapeño. Chill and serve.
For more recipes for a picnic or nutrition information, visit: https://www.aces.edu/blog/category/home-family/nutrition/live-well-alabama/.