Happy National Picnic Day

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Like many other places across the U.S., Old Man Winter has not wanted to leave Central New York. National Picnic Day is celebrated April 23 every year because it is usually picnic weather. And how serendipitous is it that it is has actually been a sunny weekend with temperatures in the high 50s for the first time this spring! Tomorrow, April 23, National Picnic Day, is looking to be sunny and in the mid-60s!

I’m celebrating. You should too! If you fear you don’t have time, here are some quick picnic packing ideas that adults and kiddos will both love. Picnics are one of the best family bonding experiences you can have!

Whole-grain sandwiches:

Get creative with your sandwiches!

  • Choose a whole grain bread.
  • Add your protein: tuna, egg salad, nitrate-free deli meat, or hummus (great choice for vegans).
  • Load up the veggies. Lettuce and tomato are not your only veggie options. Try sliced cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, or roasted red pepper—yum!!!
  • Add your spread. You can get more original than mayo or mustard here too! I love using mashed avocado, hummus or a low-fat Goddess dressing for a sandwich spread.

Quick Grab and Go options:

Here are some great sides:

  • Olives galore. Visit your local olive bar and choose a wide variety. Have fellow picnic-goers choose which type is their favorite!
  • Air-popped popcorn. Try different types of seasoning and again, vote for your favorite type!
  • Homemade trail mix. Mix raw nuts with dried fruit and maybe some dark chocolate chips.
  • Fruit skewers. Bring along different types of fruits like bananas, strawberries, mango, chopped watermelon and cantaloupe. The kids can choose the fruit they like to make their own fruit skewers.

Drinks:

Water of course is the best option, but for a little bit of added fun, bring a couple of different 100% fruit juice options and lemon, raspberry, or lime-flavored seltzer waters. Make sure you bring cups and you can mix half fruit juice and half seltzer for a delicious fruit spritzer drink!

C’mon, go out and have a picnic tomorrow—it will be fun. You will boost your health with delicious food, family bonding and a blessed dose of vitamin D from the sunshine!

 

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Five Healthy Swaps for Summer

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Where I live, in the beautiful Finger Lakes of New York State, Memorial Day marks summer more so than the earth’s tilt toward the sun. With the summer season starting up this weekend, I have been thinking about my favorite summer swaps. Here we go!

Swap Fruit Juice and Seltzer for Soda. Did you know that 16 ounces of soda has more than 10 teaspoons of sugar? And diet soda isn’t the answer either; researchers have discovered that diet sodas though calorie-free can make you gain weight. I tell my clients to satisfy soda cravings by mixing a mere three ounces of fruit juice with 12 ounces of seltzer water.

Swap Grilled Portobello Mushrooms for Hamburgers. Red meat is okay to consume on occasion, but consuming it regularly can lead to high cholesterol, weight gain, and in the long-term, heart disease. A recent study conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University found that replacing high-density foods like red meat with low density foods like mushrooms could fight obesity. Grilled Portobello mushrooms have a delicious meaty taste. If I can get my meat-loving clients to devour a Portobello burger, they must be scrumptious!

Swap Ice Cream for Banana Soft Serve. Summer for many means ice cream, especially on hot, humid days. Try to change it up sometimes with a healthier option: Banana Soft Serve. Chop and freeze several bananas. Whenever you get an ice cream craving, throw a handful of chopped frozen bananas in the food processor and blend them with some almond milk of coconut milk. Pineapple added in is a delicious treat as well!

Reduce the Mayo for Greek yogurt. Whether it’s potato salad or macaroni salad, most people I know make these popular summer salads with globs of mayo. Swap ¾ of the mayo with Greek yogurt—you will cut the calories yet boost the nutrition and keep the satisfying taste!

Go Mini with your Desserts. You don’t have to totally deny desserts! If you want to make cupcakes, make the mini ones and create a pact with yourself to only have one.  Cut your brownies very small and make the same pact. Really savor the sweetness!

I wish you all an awesome Memorial Day weekend! Let me know if these swaps helped you!