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Healthy Recipes for Picnics

Family meals are likely starting to become a more and more difficult chore as the pandemic continues. Keeping healthy meals on the table can be a challenge and sometimes you just need a few new ideas to keep you cooking!

So let’s move those healthy dishes off the table and onto a blanket! It’s picnic time!

Let al fresco dining during the summer months allow you to get out of the house during this pandemic. It may not be far, but a picnic in your backyard is just what MaxWell Clinic orders to keep up a nutrient rich, anti-inflammatory diet all summer long!

Spending more time outdoors and enjoying nature, has many health benefits that go beyond the pleasantness of a picnic. Research has shown interacting with nature to produce improvements in mental health, cognitive function, and physical function. Enjoy an outdoor picnic to improve your mood, reduce anxiety, increase self-esteem, and decrease stress while dining on fresh and flavorful summer meals!

Pick-Up Sticks Fruit Salad

1 green apple, cored and julienned
1 ½ cups jicama root, peeled and julienned
1 mini watermelon, rind removed and julienned
½ cup radishes, julienned

Dressing:
½ cup watermelon juice or 1 cup watermelon
Juice from ½ lime
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh cilantro
Small sprinkle of freshly ground sea salt

Directions:

Combine apple, jicama, watermelon, and radishes in a large bowl. Make the dressing: add watermelon, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, and sea salt to blender. Blend until smooth. Pour dressing over apple mixture in large bowl. Toss to coat. Serve cold.


Summer Sunshine Salad

1 yellow bell pepper, stem removed and julienned
1 orange bell pepper, stem removed and julienned
1 yellow summer squash, shaved
1 ½ cups garbanzo beans, cooked and cooled
1 carrot, shaved
½ cup slivered almonds

Dressing:
Juice from one lemon
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix bell peppers, summer squash, garbanzo beans, carrot, and slivered almonds. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, sea salt, and black pepper. Pour over salad mixture in large bowl. Toss to coat. Serve cold.


Checkers Chips – Easy Crisp Squash and Zucchini Chips

1 yellow summer squash
1 zucchini squash
Sprinkle of sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 230 degrees. With a mandolin, evenly slice summer squash and zucchini into thin chips. Remove liquid of squashes by spreading chips in a single layer on top of a paper towel. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Place an additional layer of paper towels on top of squash chips. Place a large cutting board or cookie sheet on top of paper towels to press out liquid. Let sit for 15 minutes. Line a large baking sheet or two medium sized baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly grease with olive oil. Place chips in a single layer on parchment paper making sure chips do not touch. Bake for 1.5 to 2 hours until crisp.

After storage if chips become soft, place chips on baking sheet and lightly toast in oven until crisp.


Picnic Peach & Coconut Cobbler

5 Fresh Peaches, sliced with peel on
2 tsp coconut oil
1 cup oat flour
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place coconut oil in medium to large cast iron skillet. Place skillet in oven to melt coconut oil, about 5 minutes. While coconut oil melts, combine oat flour, coconut milk, and maple syrup in medium bowl. Stir to combine. Remove skillet from oven and pour batter over melted coconut oil. Sprinkle sliced peaches on top of batter, no need to stir. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with coconut flakes. Return to oven to lightly brown coconut, about 5 minutes.

 

Reference:
Keniger, L. E., Gaston, K. J., Irvine, K. N., & Fuller, R. A. (2013). “What are the benefits of interacting with nature?” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 10(3), 913–935. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph10030913

Aubrey H. Moore, DCN, RDN

Aubrey Moore is a registered dietitian. She specializes in functional nutrition, providing individualized personal guidance that focuses on whole food as medicine.