Healthy Picnic Foods for this 4th of July Weekend

The 4th of July holiday weekend is a time to show your patriotism and celebrate with friends and family. It is also a time when you may overindulge in drinks and party food.  Here are few ideas that can help you enjoy, with ‘moderation’,  the festivities so that you don’t blow your weight and fitness goals.

Try to work out in the morning.  The endorphins will help manage any stress and you’ll feel ‘invested’ in not leading your plate with unhealthy foods at the picnic.
If you are invited to a picnic, offer to bring an appetizer or a salad so that you know that there will be foods that you can enjoy with out guilt (see ideas below).
Eat a small amount of protein before you go so that your willpower to avoid high-fat appetizers like creamy artichoke dip + chips is easier to control.  Eat a hard-boiled egg, 2 ounces of chicken or tuna. Try 12 unsalted, roasted almonds or walnuts which will fill you up.
Bring a large insulated cup with ice water infused with mint, cucumbers, raspberries or lemon.  This delivers hydration, an alternative to sugary alcoholic drinks, and something to carry in your hands.
Pick portion-appropriate proteins, or salads (steer away from any including mayo or creamy dressing for food safety sake and to manage your calories) for your meal.  Try taking salad greens, a small portion of protein and any grilled vegetables or cux-de-te and any black bean salsa thats available.
Moderation is the mind-set on Paula’s Healthy Living.  If lemon meringue pie is your favorite, have a small slice and don’t eat the crust.  Life is meant to be enjoyed, so celebrate and use these ideas to manage your fun so that you don’t feel bad about your partying the next day.

Appetizer & Salad Ideas:

-Sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, pickled purple onions & grated reggiano parmesan cheese.
-Thick-cut cucumber slices with smoked salmon & fresh dill
-Jicama slices or cubes with Mediterranean hummus.
-Triscuit cracker with 1 tsp. smashed black beans, salsa, jalapeño cheese and a sprig of cilantro
-Whole wheat cracker topped with Greek yogurt mixed with curry powder, topped with a thick slice of hard boiled egg and chopped celery.
-Farro mixed with grilled vegetables and balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs
-Green cabbage shredded with Chinese dried noodles and bamboo shoots with a lite oriental
-Watermelon on a white lollipop stick cut out in star shape. You can add a blueberry on the middle for a more patriotic look.
-Take colorful paper from a craft store and fold in a cone shape. Secure closed with tape. Fill with terra Stripes and Blues Vegetable Chips from Whole Foods Market or Low-calorie Cheese Popcorn. Find a display carrier with holes in top (or make with a cardboard box) and show off like ice cream cones!





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