I used to be into rock concerts packed with people, and the louder the better. Well, things have changed. I much prefer
sprawling out on a checkered blanket on a lawn listening to live classical music. Not only is this more relaxing, but it
allows me to do what I do best, pack an awesome
. Portability is key. But I also want to make sure what I’m packing in my picnic basket isn’t going pack on
I’ve learned a few tricks since working in the EatingWell Test Kitchen that help keep my picnic fare light. I use low-fat
mayonnaise and yogurt instead of full-fat mayo in my coleslaw (see the recipe below). I batter my “fried” chicken without
skin and cook it in the oven instead of in a huge vat of oil. That way I can relax, eat healthfully and enjoy the music.
Here are a few classic picnic food recipes that I have learned to make healthier and are still delicious. Remember to use
plenty of icepacks and a good insulated cooler to keep your picnic fare cool on warm days:
Potato Salad—Lebanese Potato
Dressed with a tangy lemon vinaigrette and fresh mint, this invigorating—and dairy-free—potato salad makes
the perfect summer potluck contribution.
Pasta Salad—Garden Pasta
This lightly dressed pasta salad gets lots of flavor from Kalamata olives
and basil. A colorful mix of diced bell pepper, shredded carrot and tomatoes adds vitamins and minerals. Serve on a crisp bed
of greens. Toss in canned chunk light tuna, cooked chicken or flavored baked tofu (see Note) to add protein and make it more
Deviled Eggs—EatingWell Deviled Eggs:
Deviled eggs are a
perennial potluck favorite. Our recipe replaces some of the egg yolks with nonfat cottage cheese—keeping the filling velvety
and rich while reducing some of the fat. No one will know the difference.
We've lightened this popular potluck classic with a dressing of reduced-fat mayo and yogurt. To speed preparation, use
shredded broccoli slaw from the produce aisle.
Great news—crunchy, flavorful fried chicken can be healthy. In our Oven-Fried Chicken recipe marinate
skinless chicken in buttermilk to keep it juicy. A light coating of flour, sesame seeds and spices, misted with olive oil,
forms an appealing crust during baking. And with only 7 grams of fat per serving rather than the 20 in typical fried
chicken—that is good news.