Skip the Lemonade, Start with Watermelon: 6 Easy Swaps for a Healthier Company Picnic

Posted by on Monday, May 26th, 2014 with Comments Off on Skip the Lemonade, Start with Watermelon: 6 Easy Swaps for a Healthier Company Picnic Comments

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, but it may as well be the official start of company picnic season. And since swimsuit season is right around the corner as well, we think it’s high time to examine how to have a healthier picnic lunch. It can be all too easy to pile a plate with hot dogs, rich side dishes, and hearty desserts… and think that just because you might play a game of Frisbee after, you’re in the clear!

watermelon on a picnic table

Start your picnic with a slice of watermelon for a healthy, belly-filling appetizer!
Image source: Flickr user Michael Neel

The good news is that it’s not hard to have a healthy picnic; only a few simple swaps can help reduce your calorie, fat, and sugar consumption at the big event. Whether you’re attending a lavish company picnic at the park or simply ordering up an Americana-style spread for a summery staff lunch at the office, here are six ways to stick to your diet goals while still partaking in all the fun:

1) Instead of hot dogs or hamburgers, opt for grilled chicken. Chicken is a wonderful source of quality protein, without the added nitrates and sodium of most hot dogs, and is a leaner meat than most beef. Plus, a chicken breast doesn’t require a bun (easily saving around 200 calories alone) or cheese to be delicious — just a decent cook manning the grill.

bowl of grilled chicken wings

Grilled chicken is a better choice when it comes to your main dish.
Image source: Flickr user Alpha

2) Go for coleslaw instead of potato salad. Made with fiber-rich cabbage versus starchy potatoes, cole slaw offers more nutritional bang for your buck (even though the mayo-based dressing is probably still on the heavy side).

3) Bypass the lemonade for iced tea. Even if the tea comes sweetened, it’s still likely lower in sugar, and richer in antioxidants, than most store-bought lemonades.

4) Instead of dishing up baked beans and corn on the cob, go for a zesty black bean and corn salad instead. Baked beans are high in sugar and saturated fat, thanks to the pork fat they’re cooked with (what did you think made them taste so good?), while corn on the cob is nearly always slathered in butter. On the other hand, a Southwestern-inspired mixture of black beans, corn, tomatoes, and a squeeze of lime juice is packed with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants — plus, it’s way more refreshing on a hot day.

black bean and corn salad

A zesty black bean salad is a refreshing replacement for baked beans.
Image source: Flickr user tomatoes and friends

5) Don’t save watermelon for dessert: eat it first! Thanks to its high water content, having a few slices of watermelon as an appetizer will help you feel a little fuller — cutting down on the chances you’ll double-dip at the dessert table by the meal’s end.

6) And speaking of desserts… skip the brownies for the cookie tray. Gooey, rich brownies tend to be higher in calories and fat than comparatively lighter, crispier cookies — especially if you can opt for oatmeal raisin instead of double-chocolate-chip.

Whether you’re planning a barbecue in the park or a festive office lunch, has you covered. With a wide range of menus and easy online ordering, arranging for a healthy company picnic – indoors or out – has never been easier!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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