Diet and nutrition: picnics
Whether it be sitting around a table or quickly grabbing food on the go, mealtimes are different for everyone. Something we don’t often think about is sitting down for a picnic! While not the most conventional idea, eating outside can help to slow down our fast-paced lives and cherish the outdoors. This may not seem like the most glamourous thing to do but when done properly it can be a fun way to get some fresh air and spend time with your loved ones. There are no set menus when it comes to picnics so you can get as creative as you want when filling your basket! This gives you the opportunity to change things up from your usual routine.
Some picnic essentials include:
- Location: find a spot to sit out and enjoy the sun
- Sitting: grab a large blanket, sheet, or tapestry to lay out
- Carrying: a basket or bag that will keep your food and beverages cool during
transportation, you may need to add cooler packs or bags of ice
- Tableware: bring lightweight reusable cups, plates, and cutlery. Don’t forget napkins!
- Hydration: bring reusable water bottles and mix it up with some of your favorite no- or low- sugar drinks like flavored seltzer water! (Remember extra ice for your drinks)
The most important part: FOOD! Affordable and easy to transport foods are ideal for outdoor eating. Try changing up from the traditional picnic foods like sandwiches and chips to healthy options that can be swapped based on your preferences. Below are some ideas for a perfect picnic!
- Fresh veggies: carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers,
- Fresh/dried fruit: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, grape, raisins, dried apricots
- Dips: hummus, greek yogurt tzatziki, raspberry jam, fig jam
- Crackers and breads: french bread, baguette, crackers, pita chips
- Protein: almonds, pistachios, cashews, hard boiled eggs
- Cheeses: brie, mozzarella, Havarti, cheddar
- Extras: marinated veggies like artichokes, peppers, olives
With the weather getting warmer each day, now is the perfect time to get outside! Taking a walk in the park, going on a hike or even lounging in front of your home are all great ways to soak in some extra Vitamin D. Before catching those rays, make sure you apply sunscreen to protect your skin! According to this systematic review and meta-analysis, greenspace exposure is associated with a wide range of health benefits so by spending more time outside you can actually support your health! We all know that physical activity is important but who knew that enjoying fresh outdoor air can help with mental health as well?
Courtesy of Taylor Guskind, VCU Health dietetic intern. Visit our Diet and Nutrition blog for more recipes and information about the connection between diet and cancer survivorship.