Summer is in the air, and it’s warmly inviting us to spend more time outside. One of the most tempting – and popular – summer invitations we receive is to join family and friends for picnics (barbecues, lawn parties, potlucks, family meals, etc.). Just because these events are often food-centric, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still join in on the fun and enjoy a delicious, healthful meal while you’re at it. Check out some of our favorite ways to make these gatherings more enjoyable, healthier, and stress-free.
Set Up Meal Prep Stations
This is a perfect layout for picnics. Even if you aren’t hosting the event yourself, don’t be afraid to recommend this buffet-esque style to your host. The best part about this strategy is that everyone can personalize his or her own meal. Some of our favorite stations are:
- Make Your Own Salad – This buffet will, of course, include a rainbow of vegetables. If you have a grill handy, you can add freshly cooked proteins to the salads like chicken or steak. Pick a few dressings to have available as well. If you aren’t in charge of providing the salad bar, feel free to bring your own dressing!
- Build a Skewer – Let your guests get creative! Steak, chicken, pork, and shrimp would all work here. Provide a colorful display of bell peppers, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, and mushrooms for people to pair with the protein of their choice.
- Taco Bar – A taco bar is a good option if you have access to an outlet so you can keep your ground meat warm. This could double as a fajita bar, too, with grilled peppers, chicken, and onions. You can even make some cauliflower shells as alternative option to corn and/or flour tortillas. Provide some fresh salsa, low-fat cheese, and shredded lettuce for people to garnish their tacos and fajitas.
Bring Your Own Substitutes
Regardless if you are hosting the picnic or you’re an attendee, having your own little stash of healthy food can’t hurt.
- Instead of potato chips… Bring some Medifast® Sea Salt and Olive Oil Veggie Chips
- Instead of tortilla chips… Bring some Medifast Multigrain Crackers or Spicy Black Bean Veggie Chips
- Instead of cheese and crackers… Bring some Medifast Rosemary Crackers
- Instead of sugary lemonade or iced tea… Bring some Medifast Energy Infusers or Energy Drops
- Instead of cakes, cookies, and bars for dessert… Bring your favorite Medifast bar
Offer to Contribute Your Own Dish
If you aren’t hosting the picnic, offer to help the host by bringing a few of your favorite dishes. We have a lot of great recipes and picnic food ideas featured on our blog, so you’re sure to find at least one crowd-pleaser to make! Here are a few suggestions to get you started (if they need to be warm to serve, toss them in a crock pot!):
- Zucchini and Tomato Skillet
- Mexican-Style Shredded Pork
- Vegetable Chicken Chili
- Bruschetta on Zucchini (This recipe calls for cooking in the oven, but grilling works too!)
*Note: The recipes on our blog do not typically accommodate large groups of people, but if you multiply the ingredients appropriately, you’ll be in good shape!
In addition to these ideas, be sure to ask your Medifast® Consultant for more tips and tricks before the event arrives. Our Consultants are full of great strategies to help you stay on track. We also invite you to check out our “Navigating Summer BBQs” infographic, which features a few more of our favorite recipes and healthy eating tips for all your summer events.