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Organize a Light Picnic

Por Carola Sixto, Editor, DrTango, Inc. -

In the park, at a shore, with friends or family, who can refuse enjoying a memorable picnic day? Especially when you can have a meal that won’t make your diet plan stumble.

More Ideas, Fewer Calories The success of a picnic doesn’t exclusively depend on the foods you choose, but also the place where we do it and how we get there. Having a place with some shade is a good idea, in order to avoid exposing the food to the sun. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends “the rule of time for outdoor dining:” on summer days, with temperatures of 90ºF or above, perishable foods should not remain over an hour without refrigeration, in order to keep foods free of contamination. 

Also, this organization suggests separating raw foods from those “ready to eat,” in order to prevent contamination. As for coolers or chillers, it’s essential to put enough ice to keep foods at a temperature below 40ºF.

After these recommendations, it’s time to think about the picnic menu. If you follow these tips, based on those provided by the ADA, you’ll be able to enjoy an outdoors lunch or snack, cutting down the calories:

• First, prepare a “light” dip, cutting fresh vegetables into small cubes or sticks, and making a low-fat sauce. You can cut carrot sticks, cucumber slices, hot peppers, and cauliflower chunks. To make the sauce, mix low-fat cheese with olives, soy, or a few drops of a spicy dressing.
• You can also take fresh fruit cut into small pieces, and dip it in low fat yogurt or white cheese with artificial sweetener and a few vanilla drops.
• As a main course, you can make grilled chicken with mushrooms.
• A good side dish can be a recipe with whole grains, such as couscous (made with semolina) or hummus.
• You can also take sandwiches with whole wheat bread, chicken/turkey/tuna, and vegetables. You can make some with low-fat cheese and basil, others with sweet pickles and carrots, or with tomato and lettuce.
• Choose diet beverages or make some fresh lemonade, adding lemon wedges to the water.
• For dessert, take an “Angel Food” cake. Each portion of the commercial version (28 grams) has 72 calories and 0.2 grams of fat. If you prefer Betty Crocker or Sarah Lee, the serving has 140 calories.

Now that you have the menu, just find a nice tablecloth and prepare your picnic basket. Enjoy!

Source: Eat Right, American Dietetic Association  


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