Nutrition Articles

Declare Your Independence from the Kitchen! Easy Picnic Meals

Break out the blanket and clean out the cooler! Summer's here-it's time to celebrate with a picnic.

Whether you picnic at the park, the beach or an outdoor concert, you'll love our favorite quick-to-fix and totally totable meal ideas. They're really cool, too, because they need little or no cooking.

For beverages, bring a cooler stocked with ice-cold seltzer water and 100% juice, or a thermos of fruit-flavored unsweetened iced tea. And don't let food bugs hamper your picnic: keep cold foods cold, hot foods hot, and hands and food surfaces clean.

One-Stop Picnic Pick Up: Fill your basket at our store! Pick up a roasted chicken from our deli. Grab a Mediterranean-style bagged salad that comes with all the "fixins" (such as dried fruit, nuts or cheese and reduced-fat dressing). Get a fruit platter or container of cut-up fruit from the produce department. Then swing by the bakery for yummy oatmeal raisin cookies.

Fabulous Flank Steak Sandwiches: Grill flank steak and thinly slice it at an angle across the grain. Cut a loaf of French bread in half lengthwise and brush insides with olive oil and minced garlic. Slice tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place tomatoes and bread on grill and cook until browned (bread will take about 1-2 minutes; tomatoes, 2 minutes per side). Place steak slices on bread, then top with arugula and a sprinkle of blue cheese (if desired). Place other half of bread on top and wrap loaf tightly in foil. Put grilled tomato slices in separate container and add to loaf at picnic site before slicing into sandwiches. Serve with broccoli slaw (pick up a package of shredded broccoli/carrot mix and toss with light poppy seed dressing). Finish with chilled watermelon wedges.

Noodle-About Salad: Toss cold cooked whole-wheat spaghetti (saved from another meal) with reduced-fat Asian-style dressing. Add sliced green onion, chopped seeded cucumber, shredded carrots, thawed frozen edamame (green soybeans) and chilled, cooked shrimp. Serve with mango slices and fortune cookies.

Veggie Muffuletta: This stuffed sandwich is a New Orleans favorite. Slice the top quarter off a round loaf of crusty whole-grain bread and hollow out the insides of both sections. Spread a few spoonfuls of chopped olive mix or giardinera (pickled vegetable salad) on bottom section and add layers of grilled vegetables such as eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, portabella mushroom and red onion. Spread inside of top section with light mayo. Reassemble loaf and tightly wrap in foil. When ready to serve, firmly press down on loaf and cut into wedges. Serve with carrot salad (toss a bag of shredded carrots with chopped dates, chopped mint, cumin, lime juice and minced jalapeño), baked potato chips and grapes.

Chicken Pinwheels: Spread jarred pesto on whole-grain burrito-size tortillas. Layer with grilled chicken, baby spinach leaves and jarred and drained roasted red peppers. Roll tightly and wrap in foil. When ready to eat, slice roll into two-inch pieces. Serve with bean salad (toss together rinsed and drained canned kidney, garbanzo and canellini beans, chopped onion and parsley, and light vinaigrette dressing), baby carrots with a side of hummus, and fresh strawberries.