Mitzi Dulan: 5 Healthy Picnic Tips

| by Mitzi Dulan

The temps are rising and dining outside is a great way to spend a sunny Saturday with friends and family. While BBQs and picnics can be the equivalent of a “summer Thanksgiving” in terms of calories, there are plenty of ways to maintain your healthy eating habits.  Follow these tips that are still full on fun, but will shrink your waistline:

1. Condiments. Mustard and ketchup are tasty ways to add flavor to your next hamburger. Both are low in calories, but it’s still important to watch the sugar content in the ketchup. Try to limit the amount of ranch dressing you top your wings with.  It’s most likely high in saturated fat and loaded with calories. Just 2 Tbsp of your typical ranch dressing has about 150 calories and almost 16 grams of fat! Also go easy on the mayo, buy the light versions if you really can’t say no but one of my favorite substitutions for mayo are some slices of creamy Hass avocados.

2. Fresh is best. Take advantage of fresh produce by including crisp celery, carrots, peppers, and cherry tomatoes on your next veggie plate. Slice ahead of time so they are great for munching. Also serve a salad made with a mixture of greens (baby spinach, arugula, romaine) for a break from your iceberg. Add some protein such as chicken, tuna or grilled salmon for a more filling meal.

3. Kabobs. Take some chicken or pork tenderloin, cut into cubes and marinate over night.  Right before cooking, take skewers and alternate protein, veggies, and fruit for a nutrient packed picnic that is easy to portion! Here’s one of my favorite kabob recipes:

Honey Pork Tenderloin Kabobs

Serves 4


2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

½ cup honey

½ cup mustard

1 ½  pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 24 one-inch cubes

16 oz pineapple cut into 24 one-inch chunks

2 red bell peppers, each cut into 12 pieces

2 yellow bell peppers, each cut into 12 pieces

olive oil, to coat grill

8 10-inch skewers


Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Thread each skewer alternately with 3 cubes of pork tenderloin, 3 chunks of pineapple, and 3 pieces of bell peppers. Brush honey glaze over kabobs. Oil grill lightly with olive oil. Grill for 5 minutes on each side on medium-hot, occasionally basting the kabobs with the leftover honey glaze. Grill until thoroughly heated.


4.Dessert please. Say yes to dessert by incorporating melons such as watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew.

5. Hydrate! Flavor your water naturally with lemon, lime or cucumber slices.  It’s a twist to encourage more fluid consumption in the warmer months and helps you gauge hunger vs. thirst.

Use these 5 tips and make your next picnic a healthy one!

Research assistance provided by Jessica Bennett