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Let's Have a Picnic During July, National Picnic Month

Enjoying food in the great outdoors is a fun part of summer and makes memories for family and friends. Make picnics healthful and safe with these tips.
Let's Have a Picnic During July, National Picnic Month

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Go Green

Add some greens and other fruits and veggies to your picnic menu.

  • Try packing fresh-cut vegetables with a low-fat dip or a tossed salad in a cooler filled with ice. Vegetables contain fiber to fill you while providing you with many more nutrients than chips or crackers.
  • Make fruit kabobs. Check out the fun ideas on the back of the newsletter.

Go Lean

Traditional picnic foods, including potato salad and cookies, tend to be higher in calories than some other options.

Go Whole

When picnicking, you might be tempted to turn to prepackaged, convenience foods. Choosing “whole” foods can save  calories and provide more nutrients.

  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where you will find fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and low-fat milk and yogurt. Add some whole-grain foods to your menu, too.

Go Safe

Remember to follow proper food safety practices when preparing for a picnic.

  • Find out if your picnic destination has a source of safe drinking water. If not, bring water and moist towelettes for cleaning hands and surfaces.
  • Be sure that raw meat and poultry are wrapped securely to prevent their juices from cross-contaminating other foods and beverage containers.
  • Keep your food out of the temperature danger zone (40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit). Pack the cooler just before leaving home. Keep the cooler in an air-conditioned car and in the shade at the picnic site.

Go Clean

Always clean your picnic spot and extinguish camp fires carefully.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Featured in Food Wise July 2015

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