Pack a Healthy Picnic

Memorial Day weekend typically starts off the barbequing and picnicking season. Whether you are planning on heading out for a picnic during Memorial Day weekend or packing up a lunch for the beach this summer, you should be sure to know the best foods to pack. The ideas below provide simple and fun guidelines for eating healthy away from home.

Sandwiches are a staple at any picnic. There are easy ways to make any sandwich better for you. First, always opt for whole wheat bread. The easiest way to find the right kind is to look for “100% whole wheat” on the label or read the ingredients and make sure the first one listed is whole wheat flour. If you are looking to mix things up try a whole wheat wrap instead of bread.

Next, choose a healthy filling. Processed lunch meats are high in sodium and fat so be sure to choose low-sodium, low-fat varieties. Or use leftover chicken or turkey breast that you cook yourself. If you would rather not eat meat, go for peanut butter and jelly but be sure not to go overboard on the peanut butter.

You cannot go wrong with fruit and vegetables but make sure to watch what you dip them in. Many vegetable dips are high in fat so it is best to stick with hummus, tzatziki, or a dip with a low fat sour cream base. Fruit tastes great on its own so do not feel like you have to bring something for it.

Water is your best option, especially because you want to stay hydrated when you are outside for long periods of time. Try adding a few squirts of lemon or lime to change things up. If you absolutely have to have juice, look for 100% juice rather than “fruit drinks” which have added sugar and artificial ingredients.

If the fruit alone does not satisfy your sweet tooth bring along some trail mix to snack on. Make it yourself with nuts, whole grain cereal, and raisins or other dried fruit.

Picnics are also a great opportunity for physical activity. Do not forget to pack a Frisbee, soccer ball, or your hiking shoes.

Rachel Lukasavige is a Health Coach at Lukas Coaching. You can view more free articles, download free books, and become a member of the Reader’s Group at no cost by visiting

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