A Guide to Summer Picnics
The first day of summer is only a few weeks away, and we're all ready for summer fun. A trip to the beach or the countryside wouldn't be complete without a picnic. No matter what the setting, a picnic meal can be either high calorie, or it can be an opportunity to serve interesting, healthy foods. We'll present a picnic menu that is sure to please, and will give you some tips to make the meal easy and trouble-free.
Picnic food can include just about anything. With modern coolers, refrigeration isn't a problem. There are, however, some food safety tips that must be followed. Food should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If the day is hot, the time would be shorter. Hand washing before meals is just as important outdoors as in, so if running water isn't available, carry along a wash up kit of sanitizing wipes and make sure to clean your hands. And when you're done with your meal, a rule to follow is to leave nothing but footprints at your picnic site. Plan to carry trash out with you to be disposed of where animals and insects won't be attracted to it.
When planning your menu, keep a few things in mind. The food served shouldn't be messy or drippy to eat, and it shouldn't be anything that will stain clothing if dropped. So forget the pickled beets and juicy deli sandwiches for this meal. You want food that is easy to eat and doesn't require much in the way of utensils. Everything should be prepared ahead of time so, the cook can enjoy the meal and the company.
We've combed the Calorie Count recipes database for dishes, created by Calorie Count members, that can be easily carried and served. We hope you like them.
- Vegetarian Caprese Paninni - A grilled sandwich that can be made ahead of time and served cold. We suggest cutting this big sandwich into 2 servings for a lower calorie offering.
- Zesty Tomato Salad - Make the night before to allow the flavors and juices of the vegetables to meld. Serve chilled as the perfect, refreshing side dish.
- Parmesan Eggplant Appetizers - Baked ahead of time, these can be served at any temperature. The light breading and subtle parmesan flavor are a real hit with everyone.