An Expert’s Guide to Healthy Summertime Picnics
It’s summer time in Australia, which means social calendars are filling up with family gatherings, school breakups, social functions and work Christmas parties – a wonderful time of year when the outdoor picnic lifestyle kicks into full swing.
With the fun and festive spirit also comes the temptation to indulge, or opt for easy on-the-go snacks, which can be challenging for those living with or caring for someone with diabetes. However, it doesn’t have to put a dampener on your social calendar.
Soaking up the summer holiday vibe, while spending quality time with family and friends provides a great opportunity to add a creative, fresh spin to the traditional Aussie picnic basket, so you can enjoy your social outing, while still maintaining a healthy, wholesome diet.
Here are some of our top healthy picnic basket fillers:
Fruit salad, fruit kebabs, and watermelon cakes – however you eat it, fruit are nature’s lollies and it’s the perfect time to enjoy the range of seasonal summer stone fruits filling the stores. For a touch of fun, simply chop up a variety of fruit and place it on a kebab stick. Or, take some natural, Greek yoghurt to dip the fruit in and enjoy a nutritious, refreshing snack.
Summer and Salads
They go hand in hand. Fresh ingredients and fragrant herbs! Grab some baby spinach and top it with roasted pumpkin, feta and some pine nuts. A simple yet delightful combination which tastes great and is full of goodness.
Everyone loves a good dip, especially during a summer time picnic and the good news is that there are a range of healthy options to be enjoyed. For the easy option, simply grab some pre-made hummus from the local grocery store; if you have more time to get creative, whip together a homemade blend of blitzed sundried tomatoes, capsicum and cashews. All you have to do is chop up some raw fruit and vegies and dip away!
Wrap it Up
If you want something a little heartier, then fill up on wholegrain wraps. They are easy to transport, easy to eat and kids love them. Wraps can be super nutritious if made with lean meat and stuffed full of veggies and a touch of salsa.
Hard boiled eggs are so simple yet enjoyable. If you want to make them a little bit fancy, halve the hardboiled egg, scoop out the yoke and mash it with a small amount of mayonnaise, dijon mustard and fresh chives. Then spoon the egg mixture back onto the halved hardboiled eggs. Alternatively, whip up a pastry free vegetable quiche, mixing eggs, salt, pepper, cooked sliced mushrooms and onions, grated zucchini and carrots and broccoli florets together. Place into a non-stick baking tray and bake in the oven on 180 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
Remember that while picnics are usually a lot of fun, they may not always provide you with the best food choices. For this reason, we’ve come up with a few tips to help keep food choices healthy while still enjoying the celebrations.
Eat the Best
Fill your plate with the best food. With so many choices available, it’s often tempting to eat a little (or a lot) of everything. Have a look at all the available options before you start filling your plate and make the best choices. Another suggestion is to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens and veggies), a quarter of it with lean protein (meat, eggs, fish) and the final quarter with starchy (carbohydrate rich food) such as whole grains, potato, whole grain rice or pasta.
Enjoy the summer sunshine and fresh air by being active. Add to the picnic fun by enjoying a game of cricket with friends, toss a frisbee or take a swim.
Have a strategy to avoid going back for seconds (and thirds). This might be going for a walk, helping to clean up or starting that competitive soccer game.
Keep yourself well hydrated with light refreshments such as sparkling or still water. If alcohol is on the menu, stick to lighter options such as low-carb or light beer. Pre-mixed drinks often have a higher sugar content and can initially raise blood glucose levels. Current guidelines recommend no more than two standard drinks per day for both men and women. It is recommended that you discuss alcohol consumption with your diabetes team as those taking insulin or certain diabetes tablets may have an increased risk of low blood glucose levels (hypoglycaemia).
Summer-time is full of fun and festivity and throwing diabetes into the picnic basket doesn’t have to overwhelm. We hope these few suggestions will inspire a new picnic basket that helps you to enjoy time with family and friends.