It looks like warmer weather is finally here to stay on Long Island! Take the opportunity to pack a healthy picnic lunch to bring to your favorite local Long Island park. Picnicking is fun for the entire family. Children especially enjoy the novelty of eating outdoors on a blanket.
When spring begins it becomes easier than ever to increase activity levels to maintain a healthy lifestyle year-round. A gym membership is nice, but don’t feel it’s necessary to purchase one in order to exercise. A healthy dose of physical activity is as easy as a walk in the park.
Many fruits are perfect for packing since their skin provides protection. Bananas, apples, grapes, blueberries and oranges are all fruits that travel well. For toddlers, cut up melon or strawberries into bite size pieces and store in small bags or containers. Fruit is great to snack on or can serve as a dessert at the end of the meal!
Low-fat yogurt and/or cottage cheese are the perfect accompaniment to fruit and can be purchased in single serve containers for easy packing and serving.
Chop up veggies to munch on like carrots sticks, cucumbers, broccoli, cherry tomatoes or celery and serve with small cups of low-fat dressing or salsa for dipping. Have a small child who isn’t a fan of veggies? Bake up some carrot muffins or zucchini bread the night before to serve as a treat.
Remember all those mason jars purchased for crafts that haven’t been made yet? They are perfect for packing garden salads into and transport well in a picnic basket or cooler. They will keep lettuce nice and crispy. Here is a resource we found on Pinterest for salad jar ideas.
Consider making wraps instead of traditional sandwiches. Purchase a rotisseries chicken the night before, shred and stuff in a whole wheat wrap with lettuce, tomato, sliced bell peppers and a basil pesto instead of mayo. Or perhaps try a healthy egg salad recipe substituting Greek yogurt for mayo and adding some flavorful dill.
Pack plenty of ice water. Freeze some bottles the night before, and they will serve to keep food cold while the family explores the park. Avoid sugary drinks like soda that will only serve up empty calories.
Picnics are a fun and relaxing way to enjoy an afternoon in the park. There are plenty of healthy options available to families, and many of them are easy to pack and require a minimum amount of prep and cooking. So the next time the sun is shining, take a lunch on the road, head to a favorite park, and enjoy a meal under a favorite tree!
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