Picnic Power

Picnics are awesome. I mean, minus the biting insects and blazing hot sun ... maybe they are mostly awesome. Eating outside for one reason or another is a great way to spend more time outdoors, which is truly good for the body and the soul. Whether you’re on a road trip, at the playground, the ball park or your backyard, there are plenty of occasions that call for a picnic. The key is to be prepared with a few basics to keep things simple and easy to pull together. So spread your picnic blanket, get comfy and let’s come up with some portable meals that will work for your next casual outdoor get-together.

If you have a little time to do some prep, chop up some fresh fruit and bag it up, or better yet, throw whole apples, bananas or easy-to-peel oranges in your picnic bag. If fresh fruit is too much trouble, remember there are more dried fruit options than just raisins — try cranberries, blueberries, cherries, dates, prunes or apricots.

Sandwiches are the ultimate go-to picnic option. If I’m short on time, I throw an entire loaf of whole wheat bread, a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly in my bag with some plastic utensils and napkins. That way everyone can make their own sandwich when it’s time to eat. Have a little extra time? Make ahead a pasta salad, chicken salad sandwiches, or my favorite, salmon and apple sandwiches. Just mix up some packaged salmon with mayonnaise and toss in diced apples, as desired.

If making sandwiches is too much trouble, try deli meat and cheese roll-ups. My favorite method is to bring different flavors of cheese sticks and a package of sandwich meat. Wrap pieces of sandwich meat around the cheese stick for a main course that’s packed with easy-to-eat protein and healthy fat. Try adding a tortilla and veggies for a fancier version.

The easiest protein ever is beef jerky, which makes a great snack, especially when you don’t have a way to keep things cold.

For veggies, try baby carrots, pre-washed and cut broccoli or cauliflower florets, sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes as simple pack-and-go options.

Throw in a container of your favorite nuts or seeds for a filling addition of healthy fats and plenty of vitamins and minerals to boot.

Cheesy popcorn is an easy-to-pack snack that is a healthy, fiber-rich substitute for chips. It travels well and tastes delicious. I also love dried pea snacks, lentil chips and quinoa puffs for fun spin on a crunchy snack.

For a sweet treat, try Larabars which are sweetened with dates or a few pieces of chocolate to help round out the meal.

Don’t get thirsty. Remember to fill water bottles before you leave or pack some bottled water. Squeeze in a little lemon if you choose.

Embrace this summer and spend more time outside, move your body and eat delicious, real food.

To schedule a consultation with Angela, visit the MediSlim clinic at 3806 S. Medford Drive in Lufkin or call (936) 632-1996 for more information.