Picnics in the park don't always have to mean crisps, cakes and processed meat (sweaty pork pie, anyone?). This summer, follow our guide to healthy picnic alternatives and enjoy a season of nutritious al fresco lunches from now onwards.
Swap sarnies for wraps
Instead of carb-heavy sandwiches and rolls filled with butter and cheese, opt for whole-wheat wraps brimming with lean meat and crisp salad instead. Top off the wraps with chilli chicken, which is made with a little gem lettuce, fat-free Greek yoghurt, grilled chicken, avocado, red onion and a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes. For a veggie option add thick, crunchy peppers or falafel. Delicious, right?
Say no to mayo
Sure, coleslaw, potato salad and pasta with lashings mayonnaise are all firm favourites when it comes to picnic accompaniments but there are lighter and leaner options that are equally delicious. As a carby sidekick to your wrap, couscous or quinoa seasoned with a pepper, garlic and lemon juice is a tasty option, or prepare your own reduced-fat coleslaw at home using yoghurt instead of mayo, and even small florets of broccoli instead of cabbage for added nutritional value. For a delectable Mexican-inspired side dish, we suggest mixing together black beans, sweetcorn and diced peppers with lime juice and a few finely chopped chillies. Tasty stuff.
Make a better choice with meat
A platter of beige meat – think sausage rolls, Scotch eggs and the afore-mentioned pork pies – have the same (or there abouts) nutritious benefits of a Saturday night kebab. So, instead of consuming pastry-covered pork morsels well into double figures, pick on marinated chicken, baked salmon skewers, homemade turkey meatballs or cooked king prawns. As a delicious dip for all of the above, mix together soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, chopped garlic, fresh ginger and fresh chillies to taste. Beats cocktails sausages and ketchup, right?
Sip on guilt-free fizzy drinks
We all know how bad for us fizzy drinks are, but when the sun’s shining and you’re in need of some sweet refreshment fast, a bottle of pop really hits the spot. To keep things non-processed and sugar-free, prepare your own fruity fizz at home by adding crushed berries or slices of citrus fruits to sparkling water overnight. As a still option, you can make your own iced tea using your regular teabags. Simply brew a jug full of tea, leave it to cool, add fruit puree (peach works very well), stir and then leave to cool in the fridge.
Indulge in naturally sweet desserts
Yes, strawberries, cream, Victoria sponge and French fancies are the staples of a traditional British picnic, but stuffing your face with cake every other weekend for a whole three months really isn’t the key to hitting your fitness targets. Instead, treat yourself to a fruit fondue using chopped tropical fruits on cocktail sticks dipped into yoghurt (we love an organic coconut flavour) or honey. Or, if your cooler bag is, erm, cool enough, freeze yoghurt the night before and serve scoops with fresh fruit or desiccated coconut. Cake is so 2015, people.