Summer is a great time for picnics and I’m 100% in favor of that — fresh air, sunlight (a good dose of vitamin D!) and relaxation are all good for both mind and body.
When you’re packing your picnic basket, why not load up on foods that support your body’s natural capacity to build bone?
So many healthy fruits, vegetables, and especially leafy greens are in season or will be soon, and farmers’ markets are everywhere this time of year. Berry season is upon us, and depending where you’re located, locally grown melons, watermelons, peaches, apricots, cherries and plums should be available. And let’s not forget the summer tomatoes!
Here are a few terrific recipes you can use if you’re planning to “eat out” in the summer sun.
1. Picnic avocado wrap
Ingredients: You can make this picnic favorite as an avocado sandwich with bread or a lettuce wrap. As you read through this recipe, you’ll see how many options you have with the ingredients!
- Start with 2 slices of whole grain bread. Toasting them is optional. If you want to go bread-free, try using two large leaves of green lettuce, preferably a thicker type like Romaine.
- Add your favorite condiments. My personal favorite is mayonnaise. I put 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise on both pieces of bread. Some other good options are mustard, hummus, yogurt and extra virgin olive oil.
- Place a few slices of fresh avocado on the bread or lettuce.
- Add a layer of sharp cheddar cheese. If dairy doesn’t work for you, maybe try some serrano peppers or arugula leaves to give the sandwich a little more kick.
- Add your other favorite toppings. Sometimes I like sprouts, sweet pickles, cucumbers and tomatoes.
2. Grilled watermelon, feta and mint salad
Serves: approximately 6
1 small seedless watermelon (about 4 pounds)
Lime or lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Quarter the watermelon lengthwise. Cut each quarter into 2 inch thick slices.
- Generously brush all pieces with olive oil.
- Pre-heat grill. I like a high heat to ensure char marks on the melon. Make sure grill is clean and well oiled.
- Grill fruit until light char marks appear. If your grill is smaller and doesn’t get hot enough to char the fruit, heat it until you can see indentations on the fruit where the grill is (this indicates that the fruit there has softened).
- Once grilled, allow the fruit to cool enough to handle it. Remove and discard the rinds, then cut the watermelon into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes.
- Dress salad with a mixture of the citrus juices to taste (a good ratio is 2 limes/lemons to 1 orange). Top with the feta and mint and toss to coat.
3. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Serves: approximately 6
4 medium sweet potatoes
Herb/s: your choice (about 1 Tbsp. of each you choose)
• Dried basil, dill, thyme, oregano
• Cumin or paprika
Greens: again your choice (about 3-6 cups makes for a good salad)
• Spring mix
Seeds/Nuts: Sunflower, pepitas, pecan pieces (around 1/2 cup)
Fruit component: Cranberries, grilled plum slices, small mango pieces, raisins. Use between 1/2 cup and 1 cup (you just want this as an accent to the sweet potato, so don’t overpower it by using too much!)
Salt and pepper
Optional fresh herbs: parsley, cilantro, scallion (around 1/2 cup chopped)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
- In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil to coat, then toss with the herbs that you have decided to use and season with salt and pepper.
- Place potatoes on a roasting tray or cookie sheet and roast in oven until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
- Take the potatoes, the greens, and any other ingredients that you have chosen and toss gently.
- If you choose to dress this salad, I suggest olive oil and a small amount of balsamic vinegar, or a simple citrus juice dressing (even just serve it with lemon or lime wedges).
The best part about this recipe is its versatility. There is no end to what you can use and combine to make this salad.