3 easy picnic ideas

With summer holidays just around the corner, most of us are trying to savour every moment of being outside. We’re enjoying BBQs, picnics, patios. And we can still focus on eating healthy while enjoying these fun outdoor activities. It just requires a little planning.  But with easy recipes, we can really minimize that planning too. These are a few of my favourites:

Rainbow Fruit Kebabs

Fruit Kebabs

Makes about 25 servings

This is basically fruit salad - on a stick! These kebabs are delicious, healthy, easy to handle at a party, and kids will love them. They do take a bit of time to assemble, but the results are beautiful so I think you’ll find that it’s worth it. The goal is to make the skewer as many different colours as possible. And you can substitute any fruit you would like. You can experiment with sprinkling different herbs and seasonings on them, like cinnamon, crushed mint, or a mix of stevia and unsweetened cocoa (as a few examples). Have fun!

Ingredients

25 strawberries, hulled
25-50 blueberries, raspberries and/or blackberries
25 pieces cantaloupe or orange (about 4-5 oranges, peeled)
25 pieces pineapple, fresh, skin and core removed, and cubed
25 pieces kiwi fruits or 50 pieces honeydew melon
25 bamboo* or other disposable skewers (such as plastic)
*Note: If using wooden or bamboo skewers, make sure all the splinters are off of them by rolling two together in your hands, or rub them over each other, as if you are sharpening a knife.

Directions
Cut the fruit that is not already small into 1-inch, or bite-size, chunks. First, skewer the strawberry. Then skewer each type of fruit, making sure to use as many different colours as possible on each skewer. Make sure to push the fruit pieces up fairly high, so they don't slip off (leave about a third of the skewer without fruit, to allow for easy handling).
 

Summer Salad in a Jar

Salad in a jar

Makes 1 salad
What You Need
Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons organic salad dressing (preferably homemade, such as Lime-Chile, Honey-Mustard, or Creamy Avocado)
  • Mix of raw and cooked vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, cheese, and other salad ingredients
  • Salad greens

Equipment

  • Wide-mouth mason jars with tight-fitting lids: 16 oz jars for side salads, 32 oz jars for individual meal-sized salads (any mason jar can be used, but wide-mouthed jars make it easier to pack the salad and to take it out when you’re ready to eat)
  • Large bowl, to serve

Instructions
Note: To ensure everything stays fresh, it’s best to prepare the salad on the day you plan to eat it.  Some ingredients won’t survive if packed earlier – softer vegetables and fruit, and proteins (see below) won’t keep well. But if you need to make the salad ahead of time, you can keep these ingredients in a separate container and add to the top of the mason jar just before you serve the salad. 

To keep the greens from getting soggy, pack your salad starting with the dressing and the heaviest and most non-absorbent ingredients on the bottom of the jar. Then work your way up through to the lighter ingredients and finish with the salad greens on top. As long as your jar doesn't accidentally tip over in your bag, the delicate greens will be well-protected from the dressing until you're ready to eat.

When you're ready to eat your salad, just unscrew the cap and shake your salad into a bowl. Since everything is packed tight, it may take some shaking…but this will help to toss the salad ingredients with the dressing. Once your salad is in a bowl, you can toss it some more with a fork to make sure everything is well mixed.

  1. Salad dressing: Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of your favorite home-made salad dressing (click here for ideas) in the bottom of the jar. Adjust the amount of dressing depending on the size of the salad you are making and your personal preference.
  2. Hard vegetables: Next, add any hard chopped vegetables you're including in your salad, like carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, sweet bell peppers, cooked beets, and fennel.
  3. Beans and/or grains: Next, add any beans and/or grains, like chickpeas, black beans, edamame, or cooked brown rice.
  4. Proteins (optional): Add a layer of protein like salmon, diced (cooked) chicken, hard-boiled eggs, or cubed tofu. Leave this step out unless you’re planning to eat the salad that same day. 
  5. Softer vegetables and fruits (optional): Next, add any soft vegetables or fruits, like avocados, tomatoes, diced strawberries, or berries. 
  6. Nuts, seeds, and lighter grains: Next, add any nuts or seeds, like almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. If you're making a salad with lighter, more absorbent grains like quinoa or millet, add them in this layer instead of with the beans.
  7. Salad greens: Last but not least, fill the rest of the jar with salad greens. Use your hands to tear them into bite-sized pieces. It's fine to pack them into the jar fairly compactly.
  8. Storing the salad: Screw the lid on the jar and refrigerate for up to 5 days. If you're including any cheese, proteins, or soft fruits and vegetables, add these to the top of the jar the morning you plan to eat your salad.
  9. Tossing and eating the salad: When ready to eat, unscrew the lid and shake the salad into the bowl. The action of shaking the salad into the bowl is usually enough to mix the salad with the dressing. If not, toss gently with a fork until coated.

Apple Mint Iced Tea

Apple Iced Tea

Makes 2 servings
Ingredients
3 peppermint tea bags (I use loose peppermint from my herb garden)
1 cup fresh unsweetened apple juice
6 mint leaves, torn
2 apples, halved, cored, thinly sliced
ice cubes, to serve

Directions
Place tea bags in large jug (make sure the jug is heatproof). Pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Let steep for 10 minutes. Discard tea bags, stir in juice and mint. Chill for one hour. Add ice and apple slices. Stir and serve. (Note: if using loose peppermint leaves, you will need to add about a handful, and remove the leaves at the same step as removing the tea bags, above). 

 

Interested in learning more about healthy eating? Too busy to think about what to make for dinner? I can help