Food is everywhere! It’s something we experience at every gathering, big or small. But it’s the managing of the food we love at summer events that can be tricky (if you’re not prepared). Whether you are hosting or attending, there are opportunities at every event to make the best food choices … with a few small tweaks. Consider these tweaks when you are at your next picnic or potluck!
5 Food Tweaks for Your 4th of July Picnic
- Crudités. Every gathering needs an appetizer – start with a veggie tray and a great low-calorie dip! Short on time? Grab a pre-made veggie tray from your local grocery store, then transfer to your own tray and dip bowl! Nobody will know the difference!
- Salad. Why not take a fresh fruit salad with you to your next picnic in addition to your tossed salad? Try adding fresh mint to the fruit salad for an extra kick! Why not use some varieties of “non-traditional” salad fruits, like bananas or apples? Don’t forget to look for in-season fruits to keep your wallet happy! Worried about the fruit browning before the party starts? No problem! Including pineapple in the fruit salad will help to prevent the cut fruits from browning. Flavor AND function, that’s a win!
- Control Your Hunger & Your Budget! Trying to stay on budget before that summer getaway? Look for local, in-season vegetables to stretch your dollar further. Mushrooms, potatoes, zucchini and bell peppers all hold up well to being grilled. Vegetables are a fantastic way to keep full at your picnics. Look to make half of your plate fruits and veggies, their satisfying nutrition will keep you in more control of your hunger!
- Hydration. It is important to stay hydrated, but making water exciting to drink is the challenging part. Try adding fresh mint leaves, slices of cucumbers, halved lemons, or even fresh berries! You can even freeze 100% juice and pieces of fruit in ice-cube trays to use to flavor your water a few times over!
- Grilled Dessert. Have you grilled dessert lately? Try grilling halved peaches or pineapple rings on the top rack of your grill. Heating fruit will make it taste sweeter without adding any additional sugar. Also, try making your own berry sauce as a topping for your favorite frozen desert. Simply add fresh or frozen berries to a tin foil pouch and place on the grill. The berries will breakdown and the flavors will concentrate to create your own berry sauce that is not only delicious, but nutritious and a perfect topping for your favorite frozen treat!
Samantha Montgomery MS, RD, LDN
Giant Eagle, Inc.
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