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Picnic Pleasure

Timeless Nutrition Tips...

Picnic Pleasure: Then and Now

Food historians tell us picnic pleasure evolved from the elaborate traditions of "moveable outdoor feasts" once enjoyed only by the wealthy.

Picnic Pleasure

Whatever your reason for a picnic, it’s the the spirit, not the food, that makes a picnic special. Have a picnic at the slightest excuse! It is fun to have a box lunch and a hot drink in the car on a wintry day. Picnic pleasures are fun, relaxing, get you out of the house and help you reconnect with loved ones. In our high-tech, fast-paced societies we seem to have forgotten some of these simple, time-honored traditions.

Picnics can be held on the beach, in the woods, in a park, or even in your own backyard! How about an impromptu backyard bonfire picnic with sweet corn, toasted marshmallows and hot dogs. The ideal picnic pleasure!

In 1953, the following were recommended Picnic menus from “The Joy of Cooking“, Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (p. 971-8).

  1. All beef wieners or hamburgers rolled in pancakes. Chilled tomatoes, rye crisp and Cheddar cheese. Gingerbread in cup cake pans, pears and grapes, coffee.
  2. Sauteed Canadian bacon on hard rolls. Snap bean salad with lettuce, onions and French dressing or potato salad. Add lots of lettuce. Have deviled eggs with liver sausage. Bring watermelon, poppy seed cake, coffee.
  3. Baked ham, Italian salad and bran muffins. Roquefort cheese balls rolled in chives, sour cream apple pie, berry pie, coffee.
  4. Broiled steak, canned French fried potatoes and picnic salad. Soft buns spread with butter. Pickles, white cake with chocolate icing. Snack of salted nuts. Beverage of coffee.
  5. Sauteed eggs with bacon or sausages. Baked beans or jambalaya. Olives, toasted buttered French bread loaf. Apples, gold layer cake with caramel icing and coffee.
  6. Fried fish or chicken, baked potatoes, potato chips or green corn, Cole slaw, dill pickles, beaten biscuits, banana chocolate cake, peaches, coffee.

They all sound pretty good, don’t they? The most time-honored traditional meals for picnic pleasure are:

  • 1) Cold broiled or fried chicken , potato salad, pickles, bread and butter sandwiches. Apple pie and cheese for dessert with coffee.
  • 2) Sliced meat loaf, potato chips, sliced tomatoes, nut bread sandwiches, jelly doughnuts, peaches, tea.
  • 3) Baked beans, buttered bread sandwiches, tomato and lettuce salad, peach ice cream, coffee.

But now-a-days we want to add some more healthful treats without sabotaging the fun of  picnic pleasure. Bring favorite fresh fruits for the sweet tooth. Anything from watermelon to strawberries with a little powdered sugar to goes well at a picnic.

Healthy picnic pleasure suggestions.

Tomatoes and Peaches. Toss together sliced seeded tomatoes and peaches, along with thinly sliced red onion and chopped cilantro or rosemary. Dress at the last minute with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Chicken Bites. Cut boneless chicken breasts into small pieces. Dip in milk or buttermilk, then dredge in seasoned crushed corn flake crumbs, cornmeal or panko. Pan-fry in oil, drain, cool and eat cold.

Prepare for a Palatable Picnic!

  • Protect your glasses while traveling by securely tucking them into the blanket before putting them in the picnic basket.
  • Wrap utensils in napkins before packing the basket. That way, you won't have to search for them later.
  • Make sure you thoroughly chill foods that need to be served cold before packing your picnic basket. If you have a longer trip to make, bring along a small cooler for foods that are typically refrigerated.
  • On hot days, be sure to bring along a few extra bottles of water and choose a shady spot so you don't over-heat too quickly.
  • Tuck a small trash bag into the picnic basket so you can clean up when you're finished.
  • Rather than carry several bottles, jars and containers to a cookout, serve all the condiments from a muffin tin. Just fill each cup with a different condiment and serving spoons. Include diced onions, sliced pickles and whatever other add-ons your picnic requires.
  • Covered with foil, a muffin tray makes transporting salsas, chutneys, mustards and more a breeze, and it takes up less room in the cooler, too.
  • When heading out to a picnic, pack hot dishes with hot dishes and cold dishes with cold dishes.
  • Wrapping your hot dishes in aluminum foil and then in newspaper keeps them insulated.
  • Pack cold dishes last to keep them cooler longer.
  • Perfect picnic cheese: Spring cheeses perfect for a picnic include brie and camembert.
  • Keep sandwiches from becoming soggy by packing lettuce and condiments in separate containers. Add them to sandwiches just before serving.
  • Keep picnic salads and relishes crisp by packing them in the top of a double boiler and filling the bottom with ice cubes.

Watching Your Weight on a Picnic

High fat picnic fare usually consists of hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad, macaroni salad, pasta salad, deviled eggs, potato chips, brownies, pies, soda and beer. To name a few.

Picnic Fare

Here are a few tips to help you choose to keep calories under control without starving yourself.

Picnic Entree. Go for the burger, but hold the cheese and mayonnaise. A burger's higher in calories, but you'll be less likely to go back for seconds.

Picnic Side dishes. Scoop up 1/2 cup - about the size of a tennis ball - of baked beans for 160 calories and a whopping seven grams of fiber. This will help curb your appetite and help the urge to grab one of those fatty desserts. In comparison with a salad, although it does depend how the salad is made, but the average is 240 calories per serving so pass on that and grab some beans.

Picnic Snacks. Grab a deviled egg, as there are only 90 calories in one of those. Two or three eggs a week don't hurt you. If you opted for a small handful of potato chips for a snack instead, you'd be eating at least 150 calories of non-nutritious junk food. With the egg, you do get good nutrition.

Picnic Dessert. Enjoy a brownie. A two-inch square piece has about 115 calories whereas an average slice of pie comes in at at least 360 calories.

Picnic Drinks. Diet soda, obviously, for zero calories, but if you really want to indulge in a beer, go for the light and save yourself about 45 calories.

Want to keep pesky ants off your picnic table? Fill four clean, empty tomato soup cans halfway with water and set a table leg in each can. The ants will not be able to climb up the table.

Picnic Freebie: Picnic Invitations

To help you get your picnic plans off and running, we’re giving away a PDF of picnic invitations. The first page is the front of the free picnic invitation and the second page, the back. If you have a double sided printer and are familiar with using this feature, simply use the double-sided option and both sides will print.

No double sided printed? No problem! Simply print page one, turn your paper according to your printer’s specs and print the back of the free picnic invitation. You’ll get two invitations per page. Print as many as you need or want, keep the file for future use or share with friends and family.

Hope you enjoy – and make use of – the free picnic invitations, because picnics can be a healthy, wholesome event for kids of all ages!

Free Picnic Invitations

Did you know?

July is National Picnic Month!