Soak up the last bit of summer with August’s Heart-Health Bucket List Challenge: hosting a picnic! Whether you prepare a delicious homemade spread or opt for grab-and-go options from the local grocery store, a picnic is a great way to spend quality time with your family and friends before the weather cools. So grab your basket, unfold that blanket, and get ready to spend a delicious and nutritious afternoon in the park.
Keep it Cool
Leaving food at room temperature for too long can be dangerous. According to the USDA, you should never leave food out of the refrigerator for more than one to two hours to avoid bacteria growth. Keep your family healthy by putting perishable foods, like meats and veggies, into an insulated cooler with ice packs. Once you find the perfect spot, sit back, relax, and enjoy the food.
When you hear “picnic,” most people immediately think of food. But, the first thing in your picnic basket should be bottles of water. Between walking or biking to the park and exposure to the hot sun, you’re going to want to pack plenty of water. If you’re worried about the water heating up too much, pack them into your cooler.
Bring on the Veg
Incorporating a variety of vegetables into your diet may promote heart health, so don’t skip the greens!1 Start your picnic off right with an elegant, easy-to-make Japanese Cucumber Salad. Or, try a picnic favorite like Broccoli-Bacon Salad. Our version is packed with creaminess without all the fat included in the traditional recipe.
Wrap it Up
Swap that ham-and-cheese sandwich for a wrap! Options for these portable, hand-held entrees are endless, and the portion is perfect for lunch. Make your day in the sun even more tropical with a Hawaiian BBQ Chicken wrap. The pack of protein and the sweetness of pineapple will keep you satisfied all afternoon. Or, go meatless! Vegan sweet potato and mint tahini wraps are loaded with protein, and the cauliflower rice stuffing means you can sneak in an extra serving of veggies. Plus, the dash of fresh mint will keep you feeling cool, no matter the temperature
Grab and Go Options
Ready to go right now? Your local grocery store has tons of grab-and-go options to make your picnic prep painless. Get your serving of veggies in by picking up a pre-sliced veggie platter or a pre-washed salad mix. Add in some protein with hard boiled eggs or heart-healthy, ready-to-eat smoked salmon. You can even create a charcuterie board by picking up some cheese, olives, and whole grain crackers, like Triscuits.
Want a more elegant way to picnic? Depending on your area, you can hire a company to set up and tear down your picnic. Companies like Popup Picnic provide tables, chairs, and food, along with stylish place settings and decorations. On top of that, most services offer loads of fresh options you can choose from. These companies usually specialize in their local area, so look up a catering service near you!
Check off August’s Bucket List Challenge
A picnic is a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones, and with so many options, getting outside has never been easier. So, get out that grocery list, pick up those eats, and head to the closest park to soak up every last bit of summertime.
Looking for more ways to live an active, heart-healthy lifestyle? Check out more heart-health articles just like this one!
This article is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as or substituted for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health care provider with any questions about your health or a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have read on the internet.