Since this past weekend was Memorial Day, that means the summer barbeques and picnics have officially begun! Praise the Lord our 3 months of warm weather is FINALLY here!!
Summer is my favorite time of the year for many reasons, but one of the things I most look forward to is parties with friends at the beach. While this is super fun and an awesome time, it can be a little taxing on some of us with our health goals. Having pasta salad and hot dogs is great in May and then mid- July comes and you’ve already eaten 10 hot dogs over the recommended ‘1 hot dog a year’ limit, and it feels that if you just look at another pasta salad your shorts may bust open. Or at least this is how I feel…
To keep myself on track with my healthy lifestyle during the summer party sessions, I make sure I always come prepared. I come with healthy food options. I offer to bring foods and side dishes to share so that I know that I will always have healthy choices.
Making these dishes delicious is a must so that you don’t feel deprived and everyone loves it and wants you to bring your “dish” to every summer party. Win/win. 😉
I am going to share with you my Summer Picnic Essentials, four things that are perfect for picnics, dishes that everyone loves and will be begging you to bring again and again.
A Salad the people can’t refuse.
I really appreciate a good salad. Mostly because salads could really suck if you don’t put love and care into it. My best friend Rachel and My Auntie Carol make the BEST salads, and if they make it, everyone’s eating it, even the guys. They were my inspiration for this picnic essential because I have watched as people swarm around the salads that they bring to parties. These are always healthy and delicious leaving you completely satisfied.
This weekend, for example, My Aunt Carol made a salad that we were all raving about. It was a chopped salad with romaine lettuce, raw zucchini, blueberries, sliced radishes for a crunch, edamame and a poppyseed dressing… It was unbelievable. We ate it on Saturday and couldn’t stop talking about it until, well, today. I am still talking about it and decided to base a blog around it. It was that good. Never underestimate the power of a good salad.
Some killer Kabobs
I have always loved kabobs with chicken or shrimp. Partially because it’s a fun thing to say, the pronunciation of ka-BOBs automatically puts a smile on my face, but it’s also fun and easy to eat. When prepping for picnics I try to think about what would be the easiest dish to bring. A dish that’s either totally prepared or would be easy to cook once I get there with the least amount of prep and clean up needed. Kabobs are a great option. All you have to do is defrost the shrimp, and cut up the chicken. Throw it in a bag of olive oil and an Italian seasonings packet or a teriyaki sauce, and mix it all up so it’s entirely covered and coated in the sauce. Stick the shrimp or chicken on the skewer then pack it all up. Grill it once you get there. Easy peasy, and a great way to get the protein in.
Guac and Veggies
Guacamole and cut up veggies is the best appetizer to have at any party all year long, but especially during the summer. For starter’s, almost everyone I know loves guacamole. At any party, once the guacamole comes out people swarm around it, and you better run over too or it’ll be gone before you get there. It’s a serious concern at every party we have.
You can serve it with tortilla chips or veggies. Nothing really beats a tortilla with guac on it, but a cut up carrot or celery stick is still pretty freaking great and a healthier option. Even if you bring both cut up veggies and chips, just decide to eat mostly the veggies with a just couple of chips. #balance. It’s all about balance and making small healthier choices.
Cut up watermelon
Nothing screams summer more than biting into a juicy ripe watermelon and having the sweet red goodness streaming down the sides of your mouth. Having watermelon at a picnic is the ultimate summer essential. It’s the perfect dessert that leaves you hydrated, full and satisfied. I prefer to have watermelon up cut into chunks, but some prefer the quarter moon cuts. Whatever tickles your fancy, or is easier for you, people will love it either way. It’s the great healthy dessert option for you to have over the plethora of sugar-filled store-bought baked goods that everyone else will be bringing.
Coming off a four day weekend, with three beach days filled with friends and family, partying and picnicking, I would definitely say that these are the four summer picnic essentials that will help you to continue choosing healthy options and staying on track with your healthy lifestyle.
I hope you enjoy and this helps you make healthy choices all summer long, but more than that, I hope you enjoy every minute of this summer time season. It only comes once a year, so get outside, feel that glorious vitamin D seeping into your skin, play, laugh and let the good times roll.
Happy Summertime. =]