The season of alfresco dining is upon us, which means it’s time to dust off your red-and-white-checkered blanket and head to the park for a summer feast. But before you reach for lackluster salads and slaws prepared at the supermarket, check out these five tips for packing your picnic basket with healthy homemade treats that showcase seasonal ingredients. If you’re worried about food spoiling in the sun, rest assured: You can still bypass prepackaged, preservative-laced options in favor of homemade recipes. Read more
While I pride myself on my willingness to eat pretty much anything, I’ll admit it: I hate mayonnaise. I inherited the mayo-averse gene from my father, who literally cannot stand the sight of this condiment. I’m more forgiving, but I still opt for mustard on my sandwiches, vinaigrette-style dressings, and mayo-free versions of picnic staples like coleslaw and potato salad.
Even if you love mayo, there are some risks to leaving dishes made with it out in the sun for too long. So try these healthy, mayo-free summer sides that’ll please the mayo haters, lighten things up a bit, and keep your picnic spread safe sans refrigeration. Read more
Packing a picnic for your Labor Day BBQ has never been easier. Built NY’s Convertible Picnic Bag comes with all of the essentials for a group of four: plastic plates, wine glasses, flatware and napkins, plus a corkscrew and key ring bottle opener. Built-in pocket compartments keep everything in place—including sleeves to safely carry wine bottles. Pack dishes like Creamy Coleslaw and Summer Vegetable Salad in the removable drawstring bag, then adjust the straps for easy carrying. With just one zip, the picnic is laid out and the fun can begin.
You can buy your own Built NY Picnic Bag or enter in the comments for a chance to win one. Just let us know, in the comments, what you’re making for your Labor Day BBQ. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, August 30 at 5 p.m. EST.
We’re giving away one Built NY Picnic Bag to one randomly-selected commenter. You must include your email address in the “Email” field when submitting your comment so we can communicate with you if you’re a winner.
You may only comment once to be considered and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 to win. For the first day of the giveaway, all entries (answers) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. EST on August 28 and 5 p.m. EST on August 30, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of each prize: $149.99. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.
So tell us, what are you making for your Labor Day BBQ?
Perfectly portioned and finger-licking good. Bring some fresh fruit along too – we suggest watermelon slices or a bushel of juicy peaches.
Scratch the chocolate itch with these decadent delights. Bake a bunch and freeze for up to 6 months.
Ready to serve up a new, fun summer salad for your Labor Day picnic or BBQ? You can easily add seasonal fruits and vegetables into a grain-based salad for a simple and flavorful dish. By sticking to fresh, whole and natural ingredients, you will be packing in the flavor to this quinoa salad. This dish is as quick as it is flavorful, and with all of the fresh strawberries and sweet honey mixed in, it is so satisfying on the dog days of summer.
Try this salad stuffed into a pita, or serve it on a bed of greens for a light supper. And at the height of bell pepper season, you can use it to fill hollowed-out red bell peppers for an elegant entree. Feel free to play around with this recipe; stepping into your farmers market will give you a whole new perspective of what else you can toss into this dish. No strawberries at the market? No problem. Fresh raspberries or blackberries are a sweet alternative. Not a fan of almonds? Pistachios are a sweeter alternative. If you’re planning on hosting a vegan guest, you can easily substitute agave nectar for the honey. Quinoa is a complete protein and a tasty gluten-free pasta-alternative that can be enjoyed by all.
Some barbecue foods are healthy while others can bust your waistline. We asked expert dietitians from around the country which barbecue and picnic foods they tell their clients to avoid.
The Nutrition Twins Tammy Lakatos and Lyssie Lakatos, registered dietitians, personal trainers and authors of The Secret to Skinny said, “We tell our clients to watch out when they are munching on chips since it’s hard to stick to just one serving; it always turns into many handfuls. Plus, chips don’t satiate you and the salt makes you hungrier and thirstier–so you eat more and drink more and end up consuming a lot of extra calories.”
Gearing up for grilling season? Don’t let too many high-cal favorites keep you from staying trim this summer. Here’s what you should keep in mind at your next picnic.
Crunching the numbers
Everyone burns calories a little differently, the values below are averages based on a 155-pound person.
1 foot long hot dog = 500 calories = 1 hour of swimming freestyle
1 cheeseburger = 400 calories = 75 minutes of kayaking
5-ounces BBQ ribs = 465 calories = 2 hours 15 minutes of body surfing
Even before I switched to a dairy-free diet, I wasn’t a fan of mayonnaise-drenched potato salads. There was something about seeing creamy side salads left out in the sun at summer picnics that never appealed to me. But I do love potatoes, since spuds are loaded with potassium and heart-healthy fiber, and what’s a picnic or BBQ without a potato salad? This recipe is perfect for your upcoming summer food festivities.
Instead of using a dairy-based mayo or yogurt for this potato salad, I tried protein-packed hummus. Its garlicky tang and creamy texture made the perfect coating for baby red potatoes. After serving this dish at a BBQ to two relatives who claimed to dislike hummus, they were converted! Nobody could detect that the dressing was bean-based, and I was pleased to provide a vegan side dish that provided some protein, too.
Fat-drenched side salads are the norm when it comes to cook-outs. But lighten up the dressing and you’ll be able to savor those delicious spring flavors—fresh fruit, veggies, and herbs—in every bite. Here are 26 side dishes that’ll make your mouth water– all for less than 250 calories per serving.
Grilled Veggie Sides
Toss those farmers’ market finds or extra veggies in your CSA box right on the grill. It’s a perfectly simple way to enjoy fresh veggies.
- Grilled Bok Choy
- Grilled Scallions
- Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta and Mint (pictured above)
- Grilled Shiitake Mushroom Salad on Mizuna with Ponzu Style Dressing
- Grilled Brussels Sprouts
- Grilled Asparagus
- “Old Bay” Grilled Steak Fries
- Garlic and Herb Sweet Potato Fries
- Marinated Grilled Cherry Tomato Skewers
- Grilled Summer Squash
Happy Labor Day! It’s time to have one last picnic before summer officially ends. Of course you can still cook out before it gets cold, but it’s the last long holiday weekend where you’ll have an extra day to relax and entertain. To get you ready for your end-of-summer bash, a round-up of our most popular picnic posts:
How are you celebrating the last weekend of summer?