Get Your Spring Picnic On
Spring is in the air and we are all chompin’ at the bit to get out there… why not go for a spring picnic? Try these effective, can’t miss tips to help you have a successful and highly enjoyable spring picnic!
Ready for a fun spring picnic?
After a long, hard winter, spring is here! And there’s no better way to celebrate the season than having a picnic with your friends and family.
What could be more relaxing than gathering together with loved ones for some fun and sun?
How about some fun and sun with lots of delicious food you made yourself? Sound good? Here are some healthy recipes, tips, and tricks to make sure everything from food preparation to recreation goes smoothly.
1. Toss Up Some Tabouli Salad
Tabouli is a cooling Mediterranean salad of softened bulgur, onion, and parsley. In addition, to being incredibly delicious and sounding super fancy, it’s high in vitamins K and C, manganese, and fiber. To prepare it, mix one cup of dry bulgur with two cups boiling water, and let soften for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, mince some onion, tomato, parsley, and garlic.
When the bulgur is soft and cool, mix all ingredients together and flavor with olive oil and lemon juice. For an extra crunch, try mixing in some diced cucumber.
2. Trade Hot Dogs for Lettuce Wraps
If you don’t relish the idea of eating a greasy hot dog smothered in…well…relish, then lettuce wraps are a healthy alternative with a kick. Boston, Bibb, iceberg, and romaine lettuce leaves work great for your wrappers. Then just fill the leaves with your favorite mix of protein and veggies.
For a Thai-inspired flavor, use shredded chicken with fish sauce, lime, and Siracha. Other options include BLT fixings, tofu, sweet potato, and even sausage. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
3. Dip Veggies in Baba Ganoush
Baba ganoush, a delicious eggplant dip similar to hummus, can be made for your picnic to WOW all your friends. Roast eggplant in the oven until it’s completely soft. Then scoop the flesh into a food processor and blend with tahini, garlic, lime juice, yogurt, and cumin.
When serving, top with some olive oil, pine nuts, and more cumin. This dish goes great with pita bread and sliced veggies.
4. Make Jello Fruit Desserts
Gelatin desserts are a retro picnic classic, but the prepackaged mixes can be a little funky and packed with sugar. Up the taste and health factors by making your own homemade Jello concoction! This way, you know exactly what is going into the mix. Try pairing orange juice with sliced peaches and strawberries, or mix raspberries into a lemonade Jello. Get creative with your favorite spring flavors.
5. Food Safety Tip: Wash Fruits and Veggies
Washing fruit and vegetables before eating is often an afterthought…
But you should make sure any food you prepare is clean to lower the risk of getting foodborne illnesses such as listeriosis. This is especially important for fruits like melons. Keep your picnic safe by thoroughly scrubbing your fruit and vegetables before cutting.
6. Food Safety Tip: Know Your Food Temperatures
Foodborne illness is guaranteed to put a damper on your good time, and research estimates that thousands of cases are undiagnosed each year. Make sure your spring picnic is not the source for your friends and family. It’s important to remember the cooking and holding temperatures of your food during all the fun and games.
Cooking and holding foods at the correct temperatures drastically reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses.
To check the internal temperature of meat, drive a thermometer into the thickest part of the cut. Beef, pork, fish, and seafood should reach a minimum of 145°F for 15 seconds. Ground meat should reach 155°F, while poultry should reach 165°F.
When serving food at the picnic, all hot food should be held at 135°F or above, and cold food should be at 41°F or below.
7. Take a Hike
When picnicking, it’s easy to just laze around in the sun all day. But why not get some exercise to burn off the big meal? Hiking is a great way to be together and work out at the same time. Just make sure you have appropriate footwear, a first aid kit, and a map of the area, and you’re good to go.
8. Slather on the Sunscreen
Fun in the sun is all well and good, but it pays to make sure your skin is protected. Five or more sunburns double your risk of developing melanoma. Fortunately, regular use of sunscreen reduces the risk by 50%. So make sure everyone has sunscreen of at least SPF 15 or higher. Regular application throughout the day will save everyone the pain of sunburns.
9. Beat the Heat and Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential to our well-being. Our bodies are around 70% water, and it is essential we maintain this balance. When exercising outdoors, water carries heat away from the body through sweat. If we allow ourselves to become dehydrated, there is the risk of developing heat stroke.
So be sure to bring plenty of cold water to the picnic and encourage everyone to rest if they feel overheated.
10. Remember to Have Fun
The stress of everyday life has a serious impact on our overall health. Don’t let yourself get caught up or stressed about planning your picnic, too. Your picnic is an action you’re taking to extract yourself from that stress. Bring a favorite game or Frisbee for everyone to enjoy.
Most importantly, don’t forget to take a moment to sit and bask in the success of your awesome spring picnic.
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