When the weather is nice for a picnic it can be stressful if you are trying to lose weight and want healthy picnic food ideas. Al-fresco dining is becoming synonymous with the great British get-togethers of late.
Just Average Jen is an independent blog and in no way connected with any weight loss plan and no contributors have been trained by them or worked for them. It is the reader’s responsibility to check Slimming World syn values, WW points and any other allowances themselves as those given are approximate.
It isn’t quite as simple as grabbing a blanket and a few sandwiches if you really want to plan the perfect picnic. Here are a few things you ought to consider.
Think back to picnics. I bet you’ll have a few that were amazing and some that were terrible. What’s the common denominator with the terrible ones?
Probably a lack of planning. Ambling around, trying to decide where the best spot to sit and eat could be one of the most infuriating wastes of time for me.
If you are meeting friends in an area that you’re unfamiliar with, reach out to others who know it well and ask for suggestions. somewhere I love is Newstead Abbey, if you are within a reasonable distance of Nottinghamshire you should definitely consider it.
While you might have had the date in your diary for several months, be sure to check the weather forecast beforehand. Rain showers can make everyone feel miserable. No one wants to eat soggy sandwiches while water runs down your forehead, making your make-up run everywhere.
A good blanket for your healthy picnic
Ok, so a picnic blanket is a must-have for any half-decent picnic. Even if you don’t want to sit on it, it can act as the perfect tablecloth on which you can place your yummy Slimming World-friendly feast.
I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing worse than unfurling that blanket that you hastily shoved in the airing cupboard after its last outing to find crumbs tumbling out. That’s why you really should invest in a washable blanket.
After everyone has eaten, simply shake off the leftovers and then you can shove them in the machine when you return home. I love the blankets that roll up, fasten with Velcro and have a handle for easy carrying, too. And don’t forget the water-resistant backing. Living in Blighty, we are used to the weather changing at the drop of a hat, so preventing damp bottoms is essential.
Choosing a chair for your picnic
Even as a child, I remember struggling to sit cross-legged throughout an entire assembly at school (Thursday ones were the worst!), so I honestly cannot even comprehend how people can sit on picnic blankets for hours on end, smiling as though they haven’t a care in the world.
Comfort is so important to me, so while I might sprawl out for a little while on the ground, a chair is where I am more likely to be found. I love the ones that come with a cup holder in the arm; they’re also lightweight and foldable, so easy to carry (along with my hamper of goodies).
In the current climate, many more people consider the environment while planning holidays, property improvements, and even picnics. The throwaway society we once lived in is evolving and for the better! Gone are the days when plastic cutlery was a must-have item. Nowadays, there are far better, eco-friendly options.
Getting out and about into the fresh air, while being a superb opportunity to catch up with friends, also provides so many options when it comes to increasing your activity levels. If the location is close to your home, aim to walk there rather than relying on your car or taking public transport.
Likewise, take a ball or frisbee along with you and aim to have a bit of active fun prior to scoffing your face with healthy treats. My favourite activity was called Scatch, do you remember it? The one with velcro pads to catch a tennis ball on. The natural feel-good hormones, endorphins, that your body produces when undertaking exercise are so powerful and will last well beyond your picnic fun.
Whatever you take to keep the little ones busy be sure to make it light as you are the one who is bound to end up carrying it around!
Finally, here are some Slimming World Picnic ideas – these are all you need to help you keep on track whilst having fun as a family. Do also check out my recipes for the slow cooker to be ready when you get home! don’t forget to take plenty of drinks, perhaps even low-calorie wine?
Healthy Picnic foods to buy
Here are some ideas of items that are quick and easy to pick up in the shops to make your healthy picnic perfect.
Jumbo Snack a Jacks – low-calorie, low fat and at 2-2.5 syns each (approx) on Slimming World these make a nice snack for all the family. They are lightweight to carry too which is a bonus.
Alpen light bars – low calorie at around 79 kcals each and on Slimming World they are 3 syns each (approx) but so much better than many other snack options and you can even have them as your Healthy Extra B choice!
Fruit – don’t overlook how easy it is to pick up a bag of apples for all the family. Or a vegetable like a carrot or celery sticks.
Healthy Picnic foods to make yourself
Making items to take on your picnic can also help to keep you on the plan. They don’t have to be difficult and some can be done really quickly. Here are some ideas with links to their recipes too.
With a pasta salad, you can really just put in whatever you like. My favourite quick recipe is cooked pasta, pickled cabbage in its juice, cubed cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, diced peppers and diced red onion.
Have you tried a fruit pasta salad? It is amazing and you could make it with frozen fruit knowing it will defrost by the time you eat!
Plum, sweet potato and quinoa salad
This is a recipe that definitely needs a fork but is tasty, low calorie and also low syn on Slimming World so very worth it! Check out my roasted plum, sweet potato and quinoa salad recipe and see if it is perfect for your picnic.
For a spicy salad why not try the Mexican salad recipe and see if it would make a good healthy picnic food?
Sticky Chicken salad
Definitely a popular way to add chicken to a salad this is a sticky, tasty chicken marinade you should definitely consider! It makes a great healthy picnic food and makes the salad more interesting.
There are so many ingredients you can use in a salad you may not have even thought of. Make your salad a bit different by trying something new. Here are some suggestions for you aside from the usual lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and onions.
- Sugar snap peas
Sandwiches or wraps
Making everyone individual sandwiches or wraps means you can make yours healthy. You could make it using large leaves of lettuce instead of bread if you want to reduce carbs.
On Slimming world using your healthy extra b choice as bread could mean you have the same or similar to your family here, just think about your fillings. Cooked chicken or Quorn makes a good filling with some salad. Have you tried this mushroom pate? What about coleslaw?
What about making falafel wraps with houmous? Recipe for the perfect healthy houmous and tips of wraps to use here.
These halloumi and vegetable flatbreads look amazing and would be lovely for a picnic.
Have you seen how full of fat shop-bought quiches can be? You can easily make your own crustless quiche or breakfast quiche without pastry much more healthily. I love rosemary and red onion mini quiches. You can make whatever flavour you fancy.
I recommend 6 eggs, 250g of fat-free cottage cheese or quark, salt and pepper as your base ingredients. Then just add whatever you fancy to that, mix well and put into silicone bun cases. Cook for 20 minutes 200°c or similar until firm.
Top tip – avoid mushrooms, tomatoes and other foods with high water content as they stop the quiches setting easily.
This Sweetcorn fritter recipe (pictured above) is great for picnics and very like a quiche.
If you prefer some kind of crust to your quiche then alternatives to pastry are tortilla boats as in this quiche recipe, ham, or cauliflower which can be grated and mixed with an egg then pressed into a flan dish and baked without filling until firm and crispy. Adding the filling then and baking again makes it perfect.
Other healthy picnic foods and recipes
Here is a selection of other recipes which would be perfect for a family picnic. They are all low in calories and healthy so would keep you on plan!
Curry loaf (pictured above).
What would you recommend for a picnic? Whatever you take don’t forget drinks and a picnic blanket!
Have you considered making a healthy afternoon tea? It is super easy and fun!
Etsy for weight loss
If you are like me and like buying fun new items to motivate your weight loss, then here are my favourites. Etsy is great for items for the kitchen and weight loss goodies. I could spend hours browsing there.
More you may enjoy
Do you fancy looking at the other dessert ideas I share? Check out my desserts article with lots of yummy dessert recipes.
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