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Summer picnics are a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your family, friends or special loved one. With eating and drinking being the central activities it is easy to get side tracked with the social aspect and pay little attention to what you are consuming and in what quantities. This can lead to unwanted summer weight gain. So whether your idea of a picnic is a backyard barbecue or lunch in the park, you’ll want to take stock of the following healthy picks for the perfect picnic.

Potato and Pasta Salads

Most picnics feature at least one selection of traditional potato salad and pasta salad loaded with creamy mayonnaise, packed with unhealthy fat and calories. Did you know that a serving of only 1 cup can have as high as 300 – 400 calories? One way to make these summer picnic staples a healthier selection is to add lots of fresh crisp vegetables such as red and green peppers, celery, cherry tomatoes, green onions, broccoli, zucchini and your other favourite veggies. Another is to use a no-fat mayonnaise or better yet cut the mayonnaise in half and mix it with an equal amount of low-fat plain yogurt. This will save loads of excess fat and calories but still give it that creamy texture. The added vegetables will spruce up the nutritional value while lowering the calories per serving since you’ll be eating less potatoes or pasta per serving and more lower calorie vegetables. Just think, the more colourful you can make it the better.

Bean Salads, Cole Slaws and Green Salads

Oil based bean salads and cole slaw can have half the calories with only 150 – 200 calories per 1 cup serving compared with the same size serving of creamy potato and pasta salads. Therefore, go easy on the potato and pasta salads and fill your plate with more of the bean salad and coleslaw. This is an easy way of cutting calories without going hungry. If a fresh green salad is available, start by eating that first. Go easy on the dressing to avoid unnecessary calories. Offer the host to bring a green salad so you know that you will have that as one of your choices. If you are the one hosting the event, be sure to include a large green salad as one of your selections. Don’t put the dressing on ahead of time and allow people a selection of dressings. That way people can put as much dressing as they like.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/676447

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