May is just around the corner, which means it’s officially acceptable to start thinking about picnics! Checkered blankets, sunny days and delicious food — what’s not to love?
Some say to be suspicious of good picnic food, because the creamiest, richest and most flavorful dishes tend to be the most fattening. But don’t worry! FaveHealthyRecipes.com has a couple of tips that will lighten up your dishes. With a couple of simple ingredient swaps in some of your favorite meals, you can still enjoy the same fresh flavors that we love so much, without consuming as many calories.
How to Lighten Up Good Picnic Food
- Replace mayonnaise with Greek yogurt – Pasta salads are delicious, but often loaded with fattening mayonnaise. Using Greek yogurt or even a light mayonnaise will still give your pasta salad that same creamy, comforting texture without adding inches to your waistline, and it provides more protein. Our Creamy Pasta Salad below incorporates Greek yogurt, and it still tastes fantastic.
- Use fresh, wholesome ingredients in your drinks – Good picnic food deserves to be washed down with an equally good glass of lemonade. If you’re going to be enjoying a tasty beverage, don’t settle for the store-bought carton of lemonade. Even if it’s sugar-free, processed lemonade doesn’t have the same nutrition value as freshly blended lemonade with real fruit. We’ve featured a delicious Fresh Blackberry Lemonade on our site that is perfect for picnics!
- Don’t use the wrong foods to make your salads more filling – I’m sure you’ve heard that salads can easily contain more calories than a burger, due to the wrong toppings. However, there are ways you can easily make your salads filling without loading up on the wrong foods. Adding extra veggies instead of croutons will satisfy your appetite and leave you feeling refreshed instead of full. Top off your salad with a light vinaigrette or balsamic dressing instead of something creamy and heavy, and all of a sudden, your fattening salad becomes guilt-free! Crispy Quinoa Power Greens Salad from Eats Well With Others, shown below, is an excellent example of a healthy and delicious dish.
- Use lean meats for your sandwiches – Let’s face it, when it’s warm outside, we don’t want to eat something heavy. Adding lean meats to your sandwich, specifically chicken, adds protein and leaves us feeling full and satisfied, without adding extra heaviness to our meals. Check out our Healthy Chicken Waldorf Pitas for inspiration.
- Don’t forget to enjoy dessert – When you’re enjoying a beautiful day outside with your family and friends, it’s okay to live a little and have some dessert. Actually, if you don’t help yourself to dessert, you’re more likely to splurge on something else later and feel extra guilty. These Strawberry Lemonade Bars from Korean Mutt are a good picnic food to indulge in, and they’re not so bad for you either!
What good picnic foods are you looking forward to eating this year?