Summer’s here, so dust off the picnic basket and head to your favorite Lake County park. Before spreading your blanket at Wooton Park, Trimble Park, Gilbert Park or any other lakefront gem, here’s some tips to help pack a healthier basket. 1. Tap into summer’s bounty. Take plenty of chopped veggies as a crunchy alternative to chips and pack berries, watermelon slices and frozen grapes for a refreshing. Try broccoli slaw, tossed with a low-fat poppy seed dressing, instead of traditional slaw.
2. Salad alternatives Using oil and vinegar dressings (less oil, more vinegar) not only cuts back on fat, but the acid keeps food safer. Try a light and refreshing English cucumber salad.
3. Healthier indulgences for your sweet tooth If fresh fruit doesn’t satisfy your cravings, keep bite-sized desserts or angel food cake topped with fresh berries and a bit of light whipped cream on ice.
4. Grill safely Marinating meats before grilling using thyme, sage, garlic, or rosemary minimizes the production of compounds that pose a cancer risk. Heat and fat are the real culprits, so trim all visible fat, flip the meat, poultry, or fish often, and grill at a lower temperature (below 325º F), but don’t undercook.
5. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold Cold foods should be kept on ice in a cooler and hot foods (like chicken or hot dogs) should be covered in foil to retain the heat.
6. Stay well hydrated Have plenty of cool water on hand and encourage everyone, especially kids, to drink liberally. Contributions by Peter Weiss, Chief Clinical Dietician, Florida Hospital Waterman For a list of picnic parks, click here. For some easy and healthy summer recipes by professional dieticians visit www.WatermanWellness.com.