June 2nd, 2012

June has finally arrived. That means it’s time for graduation, summer, and picnics! Picnic food has always been a favorite of mine. But really, what’s there to complain about when you’re munchin’ on Italian cold cuts, potato salad, macaroni salad, and watermelon?

Nothing really. Except for the fact that picnic food isn’t exactly the healthiest! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make your picnics healthier.

  • Make protein your priority. With enough protein in your system from eating avocados, black beans, and lean turkey, you will feel full enough to enjoy other picnic activities, like volleyball or frisbee.
  • Eliminate as much saturated fat as possible. Replace those irresistible, fat-filled dressings and sauces like mayonnaise and ranch with nonfat Greek yogurt or olive oil.
  • Choose your carbs wisely. Instead of chowing down on white bread and pasta, go for sprouted grains or gluten-free options like quinoa.
  • Love your veggies. Incorporate as many vegetables as you can!
  • Ditch the sugar. There’s no need to get a sugar high from drinks packed with high-fructose corn syrup when you can cool off with water with a squirt of lemon juice. Lemon water balances your pH, helps with digestion, clears your skin, boosts your immune system, and even helps with weight loss. I bet soda and lemonade can’t do that!

To give you some ideas for easy, healthy, and cooking-free picnic recipes, check out my recipes for a California Turkey Wrap and a Southwest Quinoa Salad (or watch me prepare the recipes here for Student Health 101’s June issue). As always, you can view the latest issue of Student Health 101 here.

Happy summer! 

Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Serves 2-4

½ cup dry quinoa
¾ tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
Pepper, to taste
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ red onion, chopped
½ cup corn
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Lime wedges

Prepare quinoa according to package directions.

Whisk olive oil, lime juice, and pepper in a medium bowl. Toss with quinoa, tomatoes, beans, onion, corn, and cilantro until everything is evenly coated.

Garnish with lime slices and refrigerate until ready to serve.

California Turkey Wrap
Serves 1

2 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
Lime juice, to taste
½ avocado, diced
½ tomato, chopped
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 sprouted grain tortilla
Turkey breast slices
1 slice pepper jack cheese
¼ cup alfalfa sprouts

Mix yogurt, chives, and lime juice in a small bowl. Set aside.

Toss avocado, tomato, and cucumber in another small bowl. Set aside.

Evenly spread yogurt sauce on tortilla, leaving a 1-inch border. Layer with turkey, cheese, alfalfa sprouts, and avocado mixture. Roll up like a burrito. Cut in half and serve.

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