Now that spring has well and truly arrived, so too has the opportunity to picnic — thanks to Gladys Berejiklian’s slight easing of restrictions for those fully vaccinated in NSW.
The good news is, there are plenty of nutritious foods you can throw in the hamper that won’t turn your picnic into a complete calorie overload.
Forget white bread rolls and fluffy baguettes — when it comes to the best loaf you can’t go past fresh sourdough.
Baked over several hours, not only does sourdough have a lower GI than traditional white bread, meaning that it helps to keep blood glucose levels controlled, but many people find it is easier to digest thanks to its long fermentation process. The key is to seek out loaves that are made using a starter, not a starter powder that’s commonly used in many cheaper, supermarket sourdough loaves.
There’s nothing like a good dose of nutrient-rich salmon to boost your overall intake of omega-3 fats and the health benefits they offer. While smoked salmon is relatively high in salt, there are lower salt options from brands like Tassal available, and it remains a nutritious option to top your picnic sandwiches when enjoyed occasionally.
Dips are synonymous with barbecues and picnics, but a quick glance of the ingredient list of most dips will reveal that they’re packed full of processed vegetable oil, generally used as a base ingredient to make commercial dips.
On the other hand, hommus is a nutritious food made with chickpeas, tahini and a little garlic. Rich in protein and good fats, hommus is one of the best dip choices from a nutrition perspective.
Whether it’s a rich cheddar, creamy French or marinated feta, cheese is surely the king of all picnic food. Good thing then that it’s an extremely nutritious food, rich in protein, calcium and magnesium — the only downside being it’s also relatively high in fat.
What may be helpful to know is that white cheese, in particular goat’s cheese, can contain as little as 15-18 per cent fat — almost half that of a creamy soft cheese, making it a great, lighter option for the almighty picnic spread.
A nutritionally-balanced meal will always feature a load of fresh salad or veggies, but when you’re on a picnic adventure it can be challenging to prep and lug around fresh food. For this reason baby cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots are a perfect picnic addition. Here, you get all the nutritional benefits of veggies in tasty, bite-size morsels.
Author Susie Burrell is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of Shape Me, co-host of The Nutrition Couch podcast and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.