Ok, so you’ve waited until the last minute to decide what you are doing this weekend. Fireworks? Swimming? Grilling? Well, you can still get out and enjoy all the traditional activities without having to spend hours in the kitchen making something healthy to take with you. Here are a few things that are easy to pack for the Fourth or any summer picnic….
Don’t feel like firing up the grill, but still want a healthy bbq treat? I love Smart Wings by Lightlife. I got the Honey BBQ ones a few weeks ago and love them!! Yes…they are meat free but I promise you can’t tell. Remember…I’m from Texas and I grew up eating bbq almost every day! I think even my Dad wouldn’t be able to tell the difference with these. They have a very authentic Texas BBQ style sauce that tastes great and the “meat” tastes more like bbq pork or beef to me instead of chicken (I think that’s what they are going for). You can heat them up quickly and put it on a whole wheat roll for a small bbq sandwich, or just eat them on a plate with a salad and a few healthy sides. The best part is they have 0g Fat, 13g Protein, only 120 calories and many vitamins!
If you are packing a picnic to take with you, you want easy foods. I like to go to Whole Foods and pick up a few of their pre-made items. But, be careful because although they usually have healthy options….many are still loaded with calories and fat. I do like their pre-made spring rolls (just don’t go crazy with the peanut sauce) and also their salads that come with a mixture of greens, berries and nuts. Another one of my favorites I buy there is from the brand Hail Merry. I love their red pepper and macadamia nut dip! It does have a little more fat and calories than other dips, but it’s mainly from the macadamia nuts and other organic ingredients. Just pair it with some veggie crudites or Wassa wheat crackers to save on extra fat and calories.
Tomato and mozzarella skewers. These are easy to make…just get some small mozzarella balls (or cut small pieces) and alternate the cheese with cherry tomatoes (I like the dark red or even small yellow ones) and some basil. Then, you can drizzle them with a little olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar. But, my favorite to use for this is Colavita Balsamic Glace. I’ve been using this for a long time on almost everything from salads, fish, cheese, etc. It’s super thick (like a syrup) but it only has 20 calories and 0 fat per Tbsp!
What says “Fourth of July” better than wasabi?! Haha….just kidding. If you want to go the less traditional route, pack a few of these salmon appetizers. I take either whole wheat crostini (make sure it’s crispy or it will get soggy when you pack it) or whole wheat crackers and then top with a small amount of cream cheese, smoked salmon and then wasabi caviar. The one I use is from Russe and they sell it at Central Market for $10 (or you can buy online). You can use it on a variety of appetizers to give them a kick and it has this gorgeous bright green color that really pops!
Don’t forget watermelon! There are many good seedless ones out there now. But, in my recent experience…the smaller ones aren’t as tasty and still have some seeds. Go for the larger ones or if you don’t mind paying a little extra, just pick up some pre-cut from the store. You can also do your watermelon on skewers! You can pair it up with mint and/or feta cheese to give it a little salty flair!
If you are in the mood to make something at home, check out my recipe of the month: Oven-Fried Okra!