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AboutMeghan Tiernan (MS, RD, LDN) is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle. She strives to help others learn the most nutritious way to eat, in order to achieve good health. Meghan enjoys cooking and running and believes that with just some basic knowledge, you can gain the confidence in yourself to know that you can eat well.
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Picnics are a great way to enjoy the summer weather. When planning your picnic menu, you want to make sure you pick foods
that require limited preparation and don't need to be reheated once you get there. On a diet, this may seem a little tricky since a lot of ready-to-eat foods are higher in fat and calories. Here are some tips and ideas for some diet-friendly picnic foods.
Tuna or chicken salad sandwiches - make them with plain, non-fat Greek yogurt instead of mayo and you've made them much healthier. Or try an alternative kind of fish such as swordfish or tilapia salad sandwiches for a different spin.
Cold chicken sandwiches or kebabs - Grill chicken or kabobs ahead of time and refrigerate. Serve over salad, in a sandwich or on their own. You can season them anyway you like before you grill them. Just make sure you refrigerate them well before you take them to your picnic.
Deli Sandwich - You can either prep all the ingredients ahead of time and have a "make your own sandwich bar" at your picnic, or you can make them ahead of time with all the healthy ingredients piled on before you get to your destination.
For lunch meats, choose ones that are low in fat (turkey, ham, roast beef, chicken) and even better, choose ones that have low sodium options.
For condiments, choose ones that are low in calories such as mustard, hummus, bbq sauce or low fat mayo. Limit cheese on a
sandwich to 1 slice, as most cheeses will have at least 80 calories a slice, which can add up.
For add-ins, choose different kinds of greens, cooked and raw veggies (any kind), hot peppers or pepperoncinis, pickles, avocado or guacamole, or slices of apples for a sweet, crunchy addition. Pile all these ingredients onto light whole wheat bread, sandwich flats, low carb pitas or wraps. Or you can skip the bread and use the meat to make roll-ups.
Go veggie - a few options: tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwiches, hummus and roasted veggie or hummus and falafel roll-ups, peanut butter and jelly or grilled portobello or eggplant sandwiches.
Here's a recipe to try:
Curry Chicken salad with grapes*
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cooked and diced or shredded
1/2 stalk celery, diced
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons seedless green grapes, halved
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons non-fat plain Greek yogurt
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients. Mix all together. Serve on light whole wheat bread or sandwich thins.
* Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/fruity-curry-chicken-salad/detail.aspx
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