By Rachel Brownlee Kurita, MS, RD, LD
CHEF Kitchen Lead & Community Dietitian, Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio/Mays Family Clubhouse
Warm, sunny April weather means the perfect time to take your family to a nearby park for an afternoon of playing, hiking, and picnicking in the bluebonnets! Packing food to fuel your family that is convenient, healthy, and fun for your picnic can be a little tricky. Here are some ways to make healthy food a part of your outing:
Instead of buying potato chips and fruit snacks on your grocery store run, grab ingredients to make trail mix and a bag of fresh fruit like oranges or apples. You can put a handful of trail mix into a zipper bag for each member of your family and give the fruit in the bag a quick rinse before heading out. These snacks are easy to transport, and the salty/sweet, juicy/crunchy combo make them satisfying! Try our Make Your Own Trail Mix and Spice-Roasted Almond recipes for tasty and convenient snack options.
Throw Everything on the Grill:
Bringing food to grill at the park offers a great opportunity to relax and socialize around the picnic table. Grilling is not only a great way to cook up lean meats like chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, or top round beef—you can make a complete meal by grilling veggies along with your choice of protien! Choose colorful veggies such as zucchini or yellow squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions. To prepare ahead, cut longer vegetables into strips or planks about 1/2 inch thick, brush lightly with olive or canola oil, and sprinkle with your favorite dried herbs or spices (Italian seasoning with garlic powder work well). Pack the veggies in aluminum foil, and you have a pre-made cooking container to put on your hot grill at the park.
Keep Foods Cold:
If you are going to grill up some marinated chicken and veggies, make sure to transport everything in a cooler bag surrounded by ice. Keep raw meats in a separate bag from fruits, veggies, and grains. This should keep your food safe to eat for the time it takes to get to your relaxation spot and set up camp.
It is easy to get so into our hike or outdoor activities that we forget to drink until we are thirsty! In general, for low-intensity to moderate activity of an hour or less, water is the perfect thirst quencher to keep our bodies cool and working right. If you are a go-getter who climbs up hills for hours on a hot Saturday morning, carry a cool sports drink with you on your trek. Be sure to remind the kids to take water breaks with you! Our Cucumber Mint Infusion is a refreshing option to keep you cool.