10 healthy and delicious foods to pack for a picnic

When we head outside to eat in the sun, we often pick easy and unhealthy options such as potato chips, fried chicken and cheese. Here are 10 delicious and perfectly healthy ideas to help you stock your picnic basket with more balanced and easy-to-pack foods.

10 healthy and delicious foods to pack for a picnic

[Image credit: www.iStock.com/skodonnell]

1. Stuffed celery

Stuff celery with low-fat cream cheese, peanut butter or goat's cheese for a delicious starter. Or try baked corn tortilla chips with salsa, tzatziki or a low-fat yogurt dip. It's the perfect mix of crunchy and creamy!

2. Shredded veggies

Instead of coleslaw drenched in mayonnaise, buy a bag of shredded vegetables used to make coleslaw and drizzle on fat-free Italian dressing when you're ready to eat.

3. Low-fat salad dressings

Make a lower-fat alternative to mayonnaise for summer salads. Simply mix equal quantities of mayonnaise with plain fat-free Greek yogurt.

4. Crudités for dipping

Strips of vegetables (including peppers, cauliflower, carrots, radishes and cucumber) are delicious served with a low-fat dip or salsa.

  • When packed in a cooler and served chilled, they're even more refreshing on a hot summer day.

5. Refreshing soda water

Instead of soft drinks or fruit juices, bring soda water mixed with all-natural fruit juice, flavoured iced tea, or plain bottles of water.

  • Freeze the plain bottled water the night before to use as cold packs to keep food chilled. When you're ready to eat, you'll have an icy bottle of water ready to drink.

6. Frozen mango cubes

Frozen mango cubes provide a sweet, healthy accompaniment to any picnic. Or mix several bags of frozen fruit in a container.

  • By the time you're ready to eat, you'll have a sorbet-like treat.

7. Delicious homemade salsa

It's simple to make your own salsa.

  1. Drain a 398 ml (about 1 1/2 c.) can of diced tomatoes into a bowl with green chillies.
  2. Next, add a handful of fresh cilantro leaves and a pinch or two of cumin and salt to taste.
  3. Put through the food processor or mini chopper and voilà! Salsa.

Serve with baked tortilla chips or add to black-eyed beans for a cold salad that's perfect for picnicking.

8. Sweet potato salad

Try making a sweet potato salad. In a great variation on the original that's chock-full of valuable antioxidants and beta carotene:

  1. Peel and boil a few sweet potatoes, then let them cool.
  2. Cut them into chunks and toss with enough orange juice to cover.
  3. Add a pinch of cinnamon and your favourite dried fruit (cranberries work well). Serve cold.

9. Pasta salad as a meal

Turn your pasta salad into a main meal. Before the picnic:

  1. Grill skinless chicken breasts, cut them into strips and add them to pasta salad.
  2. Toss in some fresh broccoli, peppers and tomatoes.
  3. Finally, mix in some low-fat dressing.

Now you've got an easy and healthy main course.

10. Juicy melon

Bring a whole watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew melon and slice it open on the spot. Nature's packing works beautifully to keep fresh fruit cool and sweet.

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