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Health: Have Fun With Your Children This Summer – Enjoy A Picnic
Submitted: With the weather finally cooperating and providing some warm, summer days to enjoy the outdoors, we found some good healthy tips on snacks and foods for picnics.[Click On Image For Full Story]
The great outdoors offers family so many wonderful benefits, family time, special bonding moments, appreciation for wildlife and our earth, time away from the TV, and fun outdoor activities. But too often, we bring prepackaged foods, hot dogs and chips to fill our kids’ tummies. Here are some healthy outdoor eating tips to ensure a great family time while still eating healthy!
For our special summer outdoor event, we went on our first-ever family camping trip. My kids, ages 11, 8 and 5, were really excited especially since we were going with another family. I started to think about the typical outdoor meal and quickly thought of hot dogs and soda. I started to wonder if I could really combine healthy cooking and outdoor eating into one sentence!
Fortunately for us, the other family we were sharing a campsite with also viewed barbecuing and picnics as a way to enjoy good food rather than just looking for foods that are convenient. I took some easy steps to ensure our outdoor meals would be delicious and full of healthy foods.
Planning Easy Summer Picnic Recipes
Indeed, when I was unpacking the van (well really, when my husband was doing all the hard stuff), I noticed other campsites with soda, chips, cookies, high sugary cereals, and other convenience food (AKA junk food) sitting out on the picnic tables.
I know families grab these items because they are quick and easy. But you can still have meals that are convenient while enjoying the outdoors. The key to easy meals that are healthy is planning.
Planning your family’s meal is especially important when you and your children will be eating food outdoors for picnics, nature hikes or on family camping trips because you only have the foods you pack to eat!
The week before we were set to leave, our two families took a half and hour to plan our meals.
We had the kids join us so we would have their buy-in right from the start. We worked together to find healthy substitutes that they would like.
Healthy Snack Foods for Summer Outings, Picnics and Camping Trips
Here are some healthy outdoor snack foods substitutions for picnics, trips to the beach, or camping.
• Bring water instead of soda and juice (some grocery stores now have flavored water with 0 calories).
• Oatmeal packets and add fresh fruit instead of sugary cereals
• Mini-carrots or slices of jicama with hummus instead of the chips
Cashews and smoked almonds are a crunchy treat instead of crackers.
• String cheese and grapes instead of fruit rolls ups.
• Salads are refreshing for outdoor picnics, keep dressing on the side and go light with mayonnaise.
• Beans are a great side dish for barbecues and full of fiber and protein!
• A homemade whole bean burrito instead of a lunchable package (your child will get the benefits of fiber and protein from the beans).
• Whole wheat turkey sandwich with mustard instead of a hotdog
• Look for lean ground beef for burgers, skinless chicken breast and seafood for healthier barbecue meats
• Grilled vegetables of all kinds are delicious and kids love to help put them on the skewer.
• Raisins instead of candy
• Fresh fruit salad, watermelon and berries make great desserts
Deciding what food to bring and packing healthy foods for family picnics or camping outdoors can really be a challenge. It is important to teach kids that fun summer food can also be healthy choices – so pack up the cooler or picnic with some healthy foods that you and your children will enjoy on your next outdoor adventure.