By: Susan Joy | The JOYful Table
It’s spring here in the southern hemisphere and the perfect time for a picnic. I’m very fortune where I live in Western Australia, there are only a few months of the year that we can’t picnic. Having a picnic with family and friends is the perfect setting for a catch up, laughter, fun with a game of cricket, a bush or beach walk and sharing delicious food.
Many picnic lunches can be full of some, not so healthy foods that can make you feel bloated, robbed of energy, give you digestive issues and even headaches. These negative symptoms aren’t going to make you feel like playing and chatting with family, only feel like curling up on the picnic blanket and miss out on an enjoyable time.
So, let me help you with some delicious and easy to prepare food for your next picnic, that will leave you feeling fantastic with lots of energy. Click the titles for the full recipes.
The way these wonderful flavours come together in this dip has made it a family favourite. I’ve soaked cashews to use in place of chickpeas in my paleo version of ‘hummus’. Serve with Rosemary & Seed Crackers (recipe here) and an assortment of vegetables for dipping.
Vegetable Sticks – cucumber, carrots, celery, capsicum and snow peas.
Rosemary & Seed Crackers
These crisp and tasty crackers are delicious eaten plain or used with dips and spreads. My family loves them with Roasted Carrot ‘Hummus’, recipe here. They stay crisp and fresh stored in an airtight glass container for up to 2 weeks. Home-made crackers don’t contain all those additives like so many store bought brands do and you can experiment with different combinations of nuts, seeds and herbs to find your favourite flavour.
Sweet Spiced Almonds
This is a sweetly spiced almond snack. They’re not only healthy but also quick and easy to make. I’ve used the sweet-warm spices of cinnamon, allspice and ginger. Your taste buds will be delighted.
Potato Salad is usually found at a picnic or BBQ but not normally as healthy as this version of Sweet Potato Salad. The combination of both ground coriander seeds and leaves give it a unique flavour. You get a warm and sweet nutty flavour from the ground seeds and a fresh sweet citrus flavour from the green leaves. Coriander leaves are full of chlorophyll and sweet potato is rich in dietary fibre and beta-carotene (a much better choice than regular white potato). Use my Egg Mayonnaise recipe or purchase a brand that uses good quality oil (such as, olive or avocado oil).
This is a quick and simple salad that the whole family will love. Just substitute any of the salad vegetables with your family’s favourites. I’ve made the dressing with almond butter for a creamy consistency and added chopped almonds to the salad for some crunch. Chopping the salad makes it easy to serve with a spoon, making it a great choice to take on a picnic. For a nut-free version, use sunflower butter or tahini in the dressing and add seeds to the salad in place of almonds.
Curried eggs are a great finger food for a picnic. They also work well added to salad platters. My family and grandchildren love them and we couldn’t go on a picnic without these eggs. This recipe was adapted from my mother’s good old trusty recipe I remember as a child.
Barbecue Beef Skewers
This is a tasty, no fuss way to prepare beef patties for a picnic. Prepare the Barbecue Beef Skewers ahead by cooking on a BBQ or in a large frying pan, then chill. They are flavoured with fresh herbs, lime zest and tamarind paste, giving a lovely hint of a sweet and sour flavour. They are a perfect finger food for a picnic. Serve with my homemade tomato sauce or your favourite dipping sauce.
Chicken and Veg Bites
Chicken and Veg Bites are a tasty way to sneak more vegetables into your picnic lunch. They are an excellent high protein finger food or snack. These mild flavoured small bites will suit the fussiest eater. Chicken and Veg Bites are suitable to cook and freeze ahead to save time. Pack them frozen and let them thaw out on the way to your picnic.
Tomato Sauce (Ketchup)
A really tasty no fuss tomato sauce you can make to replace the store bought brands that are packed with additives and refined sugars. Other homemade tomato sauce recipes would frustrate me with their long cooking times. This is my simple and delicious solution that tastes awesome. Use as a dipping sauce for the Barbecue Beef Skewers and Chicken and Veg Bites.
Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies
I’ve got a delicious quick and easy cookie recipe for you to make to take on your picnic. Chocolate chip cookies are everyone’s favourite treat. Your average chocolate chip cookie is loaded with refined sugar and wheat flour. This yummy version with its crunchy outside is packed with healthy dark chocolate and pecans.
Apple and Blueberry Loaf
This delicious loaf has been sweetened only with apples, blueberries and a few dates. I’ve also used ground cinnamon and ginger, these spices help to reduce the amount of sweetener needed. This loaf is full of protein, healthy fats and fruit, making it perfect for active children at a picnic. (This recipe is also suitable to bake in muffin tins). Apple and Blueberry Loaf is nut-free if you omit the macadamia nut topping.
Fruit – a selection of cut fruit.
With these healthy recipes you will enjoy a delicious picnic without consuming the regular highly processed foods that usually find their way into a picnic basket.
Use an esky or cool bags packed with ice or frozen gel packs to keep your food chilled and fresh.
Enjoying the outdoors, sunshine and wholesome food and your picnic will go a long way to nurturing and nourishing your family. ENJOY!
Article supplied with thanks to The JOYful Table.
About the Author: Susan Joy is author of The JOYful Table cookbook containing gluten & grain free, and Paleo inspired recipes for good health and well being.