A nutritious and delicious picnic for National Picnic Month

As the summer stretches ahead, most of us are contemplating a staycation in the UK following the COVID-19 lockdown. Having a picnic at the beach, the park or elsewhere in the countryside is sure to top the activity list!

By Abir Hamza-Goodacre, Nutritionist

As the summer stretches ahead, most of us are contemplating a staycation in the UK following the COVID-19 lockdown. Having a picnic at the beach, the park or elsewhere in the countryside is sure to top the activity list!

Eating outdoors with friends and family has multiple benefits: it’s social, offers a sense of shared experience and is also an opportunity to enjoy your favourite finger food. But all too often a picnic can consist of easy-grab fast foods such as poor-quality sausage rolls, crisps, processed cheese, sugary treats, fizzy drinks and alcohol - all of which have few nutrients.

A healthy picnic is just as easy to make - or ‘grab’ - if you’re in a hurry. This could feature an array of colourful vegetables and fruit, cold cut meats, hummus, boiled eggs, wholemeal bread or crackers, juices, sparkling water and even a sweet treat for pudding – see the tasty Date, Cacao and Almond Balls recipe below.

Remember to feature all the food groups in any meal you’re preparing; good quality protein, high quality fats and carbohydrates from vegetables. Picnic examples include:

  • Protein – Cold cut meats, tinned fish, boiled eggs, fresh cheeses & yoghurt, nuts & seeds, beans & pulses
  • Fats – Extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts & seeds, butter, fresh cheeses & yoghurt
  • Carbohydrates – A rainbow of vegetables, fruit, wholegrain bread or crackers, roasted sweet potatoes, baby new potatoes, quinoa & cous cous (in salads)

If you do like to spend time preparing food, there are plenty of salads that can be made in advance to include a good quality protein – see the quinoa salad below.

Going on a picnic also has the added benefit of vitamin D exposure from sunlight which is important for a healthy immune system and a healthy state of mind. So, get out there, enjoy the sunshine (sensibly) and pack a nutritious and delicious picnic!

Quinoa Salad w/Vinaigrette Dressing

Ingredients

For the quinoa salad:

Serves 2

40g quinoa, cooked

Large handful kale

1 small cooked beetroot, sliced

1 grated raw carrot

½ avocado, sliced

Dessertspoon pumpkin seeds

2 tsp pomegranate seeds

2 tbsp soft goat’s cheese

For the vinaigrette (this makes a large pot that can be stored in the fridge):

1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 dessertspoon honey
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Place the quinoa salad ingredients in serving bowl.
  2. For the vinaigrette, combine all of the ingredients in a glass mason jar, then seal the lid and shake until the honey dissolves and the ingredients are well combined. Adjust flavour to taste, if necessary. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week and shake well before serving each time.
  3. Pour a little dressing on the salad and combine before serving.

Date, Cacao and Almond Balls

Ingredients

Makes approx. 12 balls

350g Medjool dates, de-stoned and soaked for 10 mins in warm water

120g almond flour

40g cacao powder

1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil, melted

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of cinnamon

 

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend.
  2. Make into 12 balls.
  3. Roll the balls in chopped pistachio nuts or desiccated coconut.
  4. Store in the fridge.

If you’re looking for help to change your diet, our team of specialist staff - including a dietician and nutritionist – can help. Our diagnostic department offers tests, scans and examinations, helping you to feel better, fast. Call our Private Patient Team on 01580 242521 to see what we can do for you.

 

Published on 18 July 2020