Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Insider's Viewpoint: Expert Supermarket Advice: Colorful & Nutritious Picnic Ideas. Jennifer Shea, Farm Fresh. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

Picnics are one of the greatest things about the summer season. Whether it’s a sunrise breakfast in the mountains, lunchtime picnic on the beach, or a sunset picnic by the lake, we get to enjoy the warm summer air, good company and good food. Since summer produce is at its peak, take advantage of the abundance and pack some colorful picnics. Packing a colorful picnic basket ensures a nutrient-packed and health-promoting meal.

Here are a few perfect picnic ideas that pack fun and flavor along with a nutrient punch …

Sunrise Breakfast

    • Orange Juice Spritzer. Three parts sparkling water, one part 100% orange juice. Place in a water bottle with ice.
    • Berries Galore. Combine blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. Place in a storage container.
      Nutrition Bonus: These berries provide an excellent source of vitamin C which is essential for skin health.
    • Breakfast Wrap. Wrap warm scrambled eggs with feta cheese and baby spinach. Wrap in tinfoil.
      Nutrition Bonus: Spinach and many leafy greens provide an excellent source of vitamins C and A, both of which are essential for skin health.

Beachside Lunch

    • Sparkling Water with Lime Slices. Place in a water bottle with ice.
    • Hummus for Lunch. Pack up whole grain tortilla chips, carrots, celery and red pepper sticks and a container of hummus.
      Nutrition Bonus: Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C.
    • Avocado Goodness. In a whole wheat pita, place turkey slices, low-fat cheddar cheese, baby spinach and sliced avocado. Wrap in tinfoil.
      Nutrition Bonus: Avocadoes contain vitamin E, which plays a role in healthy skin and hair.
    • Cherries. The perfect dessert. Pack in a plastic bag.

Picnic in the Park

    • Green Tea Spritzer. Two parts brewed green tea, two parts lime seltzer. Place in a water bottle with ice.
      Nutrition Bonus: Green tea is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols that may help slow the aging process.
    • Tomato & Quinoa Salad. Combine cooked quinoa, sliced scallions, feta cheese and sliced grape tomatoes. Carry in a Tupperware container.
    • Grilled Chicken Pesto Sandwiches. Top whole wheat buns with grilled chicken. Add a dollop of pesto and tomato slices. Wrap in tinfoil.
    • Fruit Salad. Combine chopped peaches, pineapple, blueberries, and strawberries. Pack in a container.

Romantic Sunset by the Lake

    • Sparkling Water with Mint Leaves & Lemon Slices. Place in a water bottle with ice.
    • Easy Appetizer. Fresh apricots, strawberries, Manchego cheese, pistachios, dried pineapple. Place ingredients in individual baggies to transport, then arrange on a plastic plate.
    • Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Baguette. Slice baguette in half lengthwise. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, tomato slices, mozzarella slices and fresh basil leaves. Top with salt and pepper. Wrap in tinfoil.
      Nutrition Bonus: Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect skin from sunburn and promote skin health.
    • Vanilla Greek Yogurt. Top it with blackberries for a satisfying dessert. Pack in a plastic container.

Food Safety

Remember to keep food at a safe temperature by packing it in a cooler with sufficient ice. Practice proper food safety techniques to prevent the growth of foodborne bacteria.

Never let your picnic food remain in the danger zone – between 40° F and 140° F – for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90° F; this is when bacteria in food can multiply rapidly, and lead to foodborne illness. More About Food Safety

Hope these ideas were helpful to get you started on adding more colors to your perfect picnic!

Jennifer Shea MS, MPH, RD
Corporate Dietitian
Farm Fresh
 
 

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