I am never going to preach moderation on holidays. I love food. I love celebrations. I love friends & family and dang, I LOVE summer. July 4th includes all of these awesome things, but that doesn’t necessarily you have to feel like a pile of regret after the holiday is over. The most important part of a truly healthy lifestyle is BALANCE and this means being able to indulge without laying on the guilt trip afterwards. I’ve worked hard at this and I’d love to share my tactics with you. Really, you deserve the good life. Work hard, play harder.
Healthy Picnic Ideas:
Good, delicious food isn’t restricted to bacon and cake (although those are both delicious). I always bring a dish that I know I will not only enjoy but not feel guilty about when I go to picnics. When it’s time to eat, fill your plate with your healthy dish and have just a taste of the indulgent things, too.
I love to bring a roasted veggie salad, and believe it or not…it is always a popular dish wherever I take it! Toss any veggie you have on hand (broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, summer squash, green beans, even frozen veggies will work!) with some salt, pepper, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and any other seasoning your little heart desires (Italian, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, chipotle…really, this is truly a potluck dish!). Throw everything in a baking dish prepared with butter or coconut oil and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes at 425 F. If I want it to be more of a full meal, I’ll toss some cooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta in with the veggies. When you get to the picnic, add a burger on top of this and you’ll be pleased as punch with yourself. You might even have some room for a beer 😉
Of course the great world wide web has so many awesome healthy recipes available, so here are just a few of my favorites that fit perfectly for a picnic:
We’ve all seen the classic blueberries and strawberries in the shape of a flag, but I love this twist on the idea. I don’t know about you, but I don’t eat just once at a picnic…I basically graze all day which is basically a recipe for overeating. Having veggies on hand means you can snack without the guilt! Try this festive plate and everyone will be patting you on the back.
Another great option for filling your plate & topping with a burger or other awesome grilled meat…this sweet and tangy salad! I love feta with fruit and I mean, red white and blue is the name of the game for July 4th. Try it with some local fruit!
Corn IS summer to me! I love it every single way it is prepared, but grilled corn is the best of all things summer. This recipe uses Greek yogurt to bring flavor without fat. Save some for me!
Our garden is starting to pump out zucchini and I’m literally giddy. Like, for real. My husband and I are obsessed with our little garden and this recipe is the perfect way to celebrate our harvest! Another tangy cheese, goat cheese this time (are we seeing a theme here?!), adds super flavor to this grilled dish.
I don’t know if this recipe is obligatory because it is strawberry and blueberry for red & white, or because it is from Skinnytaste and basically every healthy round up I have has a recipe from there….but either way this is a tasty sweet treat that your crew will love. Don’t worry, you can toss it all in a regular bowl and it will still taste just as good.
Star Spangled Sips:
SUPER duper important – stay hydrated while you party! I drink a ton of water on a daily basis and if I fall behind I have a lovely headache to remind me of it for the rest of the day. I like to bring my own tumbler with a straw for water and I keep it next to me like my BFF. Having a straw encourages you to sip casually and having your own tumbler makes it easy to keep track of.
If you plan to have some adult beverages at your picnic, first…CHEERS and second, check out my post on minimizing the damage of drinking.
Take a Tip from the Tots:
Keep moving! Hopefully you have a great weekend with beautiful weather and can enjoy some time outdoors. Play a lawn game, go for a walk, play with the kids…just keep moving! If I chow a bunch of food that I’m not used to eating, the next stage is generally sleepy time, so if I get off my butt and get the blood flowing, it’s a good move all around. True story, we still have the cornhole boards that we made for our wedding and they make an appearance after every picnic we have. It feels good to MOVE!
Whatever you get into, I wish you a happy holiday weekend with your family and friends!