Picnics, especially on a work-free holiday such as Labor Day, are great fun. Hanging out with family and friends, spending time together, enjoying one last day of summer before the reality of school and sports: what’s not to love?
Sadly, many traditional picnic options are unkind to your diet and do nothing to support a healthier lifestyle. Why not try some of these tricks to help you throw a figure-friendly picnic this weekend?
- Instead of grilling red meat or hot dogs, try chicken breast or pork tenderloin. There are some great marinades available, and both of these lean choices cook up well. Prepare extra for the coming week to make dinner time a cinch.
- Choose healthier side dishes. Swap your mayonnaise based potato salads and cole slaw for healthier versions. Roasted Garlic Potato Salad and Old Fashioned Cole Slaw are two great recipe swaps. Serve fresh fruit kabobs or ice cold watermelon wedges.
- Make fresh fruit popsicles or hand crank your own low-fat ice cream. An old fashioned hand crank works off just enough calories to make the ice cream a diet win, and it’s a great social activity – why not have two buckets and race against each other?
- Relay races that pit teams against each other, like sack races, dress up relays, and even jump rope and limbo contests, create good will in your neighborhood and help everyone fit their fitness in, almost without notice. Think about the games you played as a child: freeze, flashlight or TV tag, dodge ball or hula hoop contests are all great ways to increase camaraderie and encourage exercise. Some other great activities include foursquare or hopscotch, bike parades and flag football games.
- The above activities can work up quite a thirst. Instead of reaching for a HFCS laden soda, make your own healthier version. Try a Lemonade Smoothie or Sangria Spritzer or fill a pitcher with ice cold water and juicy fruit wedges or unsweetened iced tea with mint leaves.
Don’t forget the sunblock and the bug spray, and have a great holiday weekend!