Metro Bariatrics - Amir Moazzez MD, FACS

Picnicking the Healthy Way

As the weather is warming up and summer is approaching, many of us will be packing a picnic basket and heading off to the park, beach, or sports event. Unfortunately, many traditional picnic foods like fried chicken and potato salad can sabotage your weight loss efforts. The good news is that with just a little extra planning, you can enjoy a picnic without compromising your waistline. Here are some healthy picnic ideas that won’t disappoint:

Fruits and Vegetables – Be sure to include a good variety of fruits and vegetables at your picnic. Fresh vegetables like baby carrots, sliced green pepper, and cucumbers are great for dipping in hummus. You could even try making your own high protein ranch dip (fat free plain Greek yogurt mixed with dry ranch mix). Fresh fruits will add a lot of variety to your picnic spread. Watermelons are a picnic favorite, and mixed berries will provide antioxidants. You could even make fruit kabobs for easy handling at your picnic!
Main Dish – Instead of fried chicken or greasy burgers, try lean proteins like turkey burgers or rotisserie chicken. You could also make mini wraps stuffed with turkey, avocado, salsa, or other vegetables.

Salads – Resist the temptation to load your picnic basket with high-calorie salads held together with mayonnaise. Stick with a leafy green salad loaded with fresh veggies or for more protein, try a black bean salad made with a can of drained and rinsed black beans, a can of drained corn, a can of chopped Mexican-style tomatoes in lime juice, a chopped green pepper, and a chopped red onion.

Better Beverages – It is easy to get dehydrated when you’re outside for long periods of time. Be sure to re-hydrate with low-calorie or calorie-free beverages like water, unsweetened iced tea, or Crystal Lite (with lots of ice)!

Other tips:

–Ditch the Chips: Just 1 oz of potato chips can add up to 250 calories to your picnic meal. Use chopped fruit or veggies instead.

–Food Safety: To decrease risk of food borne illness, keeps foods in a cooler until you are ready to eat. Trash anything that has been left out for over 2 hours.

–Be Active: Being outdoors is a great chance to include some exercise and burn some calories. Take a hike, toss a Frisbee or football, play baseball, or canoe.