Healthy Picnic Food
7 Substitutes for Picnic Diet
By Joe Wilkes
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
almost summertime, which brings the incongruous collision of picnic season and
swimsuit season. The weather's perfect for hiking, camping, barbecuing, and
days at the beachlots of opportunities for outdoor exercise, but just as many
opportunities to pig out at pool parties, luaus, outdoor festivals, and county
fairs. Here are some foods to try avoiding during the dog days of summer and
some ideas for substitutions for picnic favorites.
chicken. It's not the K or the C in KFC that's the
problem. It's the F for fried. And if you have any hope of staying slim this
summer, it's time to tell the Colonel you're kicking the bucket. One
extra-crispy breast will run you 460 calories and 28 grams of fat, 8 of them
saturated. That's almost three times the calories of a grilled, skinless breast
and almost ten times as much fat. So clearly, you're better off cooking the
chicken yourself. But if you're grabbing something on the run, you might want
to visit the rotisserie case at your local supermarket. Try picking a chicken
that's not slathered in sugary barbecue sauce. And if you throw away the skin,
you'll save yourself from eating most of the fat and calories.
- Sandwiches. A picnic without
sandwiches is like a picnic without ants. It just wouldn't be the same. But of
course, the sandwich is only as good as the sum of its ingredients. If you're
using white bread, you're just eating empty carbohydrates. Make sure you buy
whole-grain bread, and that it has the word "whole" in the ingredient list.
Wheat bread is essentially the same as white bread, only with a little molasses
added for brown coloring. It's nutritionally the same, if not worse. Whole
wheat bread, on the other hand, contains the fiber and the vitamins you're
looking for. For lunch meat, try avoiding processed meats like bologna and
salami. They're packed with extra fat and sodium. And when buying unprocessed
meats like turkey or roast beef, make sure they really are unprocessed. The
makers of some brands of turkey grind up the skin and dark meat and then press
it into lunch meat form, so you're really getting as much fat and sodium as
you'd get from bologna. Watch out for flavored turkey as well. Most of the time
the secret ingredient is salt. If you want to be really healthy, buy a whole
turkey breast from your poultry section and roast it yourself, so you can
control how much salt is added.
- Brats and burgers. It's always great to fire
up the grill and start cooking up a mess of meat. And the good news is that
grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook food. It adds tons of flavor and
doesn't add fat. Of course, the best thing to grill would be skinless chicken,
fish, or vegetables. But if you're craving a juicy burger or brat and a
portobello burger just won't do, there are still some decisions you can make to
keep it on the lean side. For burgers, consider a leaner option than beef like
ground turkey, or buffalo. But as always, check the label. Some grinds of
turkey have as much fat as a fatty grind of beef. Ground turkey breast is
usually much leaner than ground turkey. If you're going to make beef burgers,
try to find a grind that is under 5 percent fat. Ground sirloin is usually
pretty close. If you can't find a grind that's low enough in fat, ask your
butcher to grind a lean piece of chuck roast or top sirloin for you. In
addition to being leaner, this will also reduce your chances of picking up
foodborne illnesses like E. coli, since only one cow is involved in producing a
steak, as opposed to potentially hundreds in ground beef. In fact, if you're
someone who likes to eat your burger rare, having the butcher grind a piece of
meat for you is a must do. Bratwurst is another delicious summer fave, but
watch the fat and sodium content in those as well. The chicken, turkey, and
even veggie versions of sausage sound like they'd be lighter, but they're often
just as fatty as the pork versions.
here for 11 Tips for Cooking Out Without Pigging Out.
- Potato or macaroni salad. Mayonnaise is the
culprit in these dishes. At 50 calories a tablespoon with 5 grams of fat, these
side dishes can turn deadly for your diet in a hurry. But you can mitigate the
damage somewhat. Instead of mayonnaise, consider using nonfat yogurt,
food-processed nonfat cottage cheese, or nonfat ricotta cheese instead. You'll
get fewer calories, less fat, and lessen the risk of salmonella poisoning by
going eggless. One way to make potato salad healthier is to leave the skins on
the potatoes, as they have the fiber and most of the vitamins in the spud. For
macaroni salad, use a whole-grain pasta to get extra fiber. Better yet, make a
pasta salad with heart-healthy olive oil, vinegar, and lots of veggies.
here for more great salad ideas.
- Baked beans. Beans, beans, the musical
fruit...well, you know the rest. Full of fiber and low in fat, beans are a
great side dish that will keep you full. What you want to watch out for is the
sugar that is added to most baked beans. Sometimes as much three teaspoons in a
cup. Try plain pinto beans, or my favorite, beans canned with jalapeños.
Replace high-calorie sweet with low-calorie fire, and you won't even miss the
sugar. Three-bean salad is another flavorful way to consume your legumes
without a lot of added fat or sugar.
- Trail mix. Summer's a great time for checking out nature, and it's always
great to bring along a healthy snack. But check the trail mix ingredients.
Some, especially those containing granola, can be loaded with super-unhealthy
hydrogenated oils and fat. There are trail mixes on the market that have more
fat than a large order of fries, so it's definitely a buyer-beware situation.
Also check out how much sugar is in the trail mix or granola bars you're taking
backpacking. Some bars aren't much healthier than a Snickers. If ingredients in
your trail mix include chocolate chips and marshmallows, you may not have made
the healthiest choice. Try making your own trail mix with healthy unsweetened
oats, nuts, and dried fruit.
cream. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
And we'll really be screaming when we try to stuff ourselves into our swimsuits
after eating everyone's favorite fatty, frosty indulgence. It's hard to resist
a cool ice cream cone on a hot summer day, and the tinkling of the ice cream
truck bell can still send me bolting into the street. But that scoop of vanilla
can have up to 400 calories and 25 grams of fat, 15 of them saturated. If
you're culinarily gifted, you might consider making your own sorbet. If not,
check out some of the ones available on the market. Sorbets are usually low-fat
or nonfat, although they can still have tons of sugar. Try to find some that
are mostly fruit. Speaking of fruit, for a healthy frozen treat, how about
sticking some fruit in the freezer? Most fruits, especially berries, grapes,
and bananas, freeze quite well. They'll last longer and popping a few frozen
grapes in your mouth can cool you off on a hot day and you'll still get all the
vitamins, fiber, and health benefits that a Creamsicle just can't