Pack a Quick and Easy Picnic

Bored with your meal routine? Sometimes all you need is a change of scene (literally). Take advantage of the warm weather and enjoy a delicious al fresco meal in the back yard or at the park or beach with family and friends. From crunchy vegetables and juicy fruits to reduced-fat cheeses, lean sandwich meats, summery salads, and whole-grain breads, a South Beach Diet-friendly picnic is easy to pack. It’s essential to keep perishable foods cold, so be sure to pack items like veggies, reduced-fat cheese or other dairy products, lean meats, and soups and salads at the bottom of the cooler, and the nonperishable foods like fruits, nuts, and crackers at the top. Here are some other tips for assembling the perfect picnic:

  1. Prepare a fruit salad. Skip the ice cream truck and satisfy your sweet tooth with a refreshing fruit salad (Phase 2). Combine nectarine and/or peach slices, chunks of cantaloupe or honeydew, and your choice of berries. Store the fruit salad in the fridge until you’re ready to pack in a resealable plastic container in a cooler.


  2. Take along lean deli meats. Lean deli roll-ups will keep you feeling satisfied and energized during your outdoor sojourn. To make one that's fine for all Phases, roll a slice or two of low-fat reduced-sodium uncured ham, or turkey or chicken breast with a slice of reduced-fat cheese in a Bibb lettuce leaf. Wrap well in plastic wrap and keep chilled. On Phase 2, enjoy the cold cuts and cheese as a sandwich on whole-grain bread or pita and layer on romaine lettuce leaves and tomato slices. If you’re not a meat-eater, make a nut-butter roll-up or sandwich instead.


  3. Go for refreshing soups and salads. Summery soups can be packed in a Thermos and salads in reusable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids, then served in disposable bowls once you get to the picnic site. Try a chilled gazpacho soup or a big garden salad made with crisp romaine lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet onions. Pack a South Beach Diet-friendly dressing separately and toss the salad just before serving. On Phase 2, you can also take along a sweet potato salad or a pasta salad made with whole-wheat pasta and tossed with a Dijon vinaigrette or a little pesto instead of mayonnaise.


  4. Pack non-perishable snacks. If you're going to be out for the day, be sure to pack some healthy snacks to help keep you energized and ward off hunger and cravings. On Phase 1, you can enjoy raw veggies with hummus, have a reduced-fat cheese stick; or snack on a container of nonfat plain Greek yogurt with some nuts sprinkled on top. On Phase 2, you can have any of these or perhaps a whole-wheat cracker sandwich: Simply spread a cracker with some reduced-fat spreadable cheese or natural peanut butter and top with another cracker. If you don’t have time to prepare snacks, our South Beach Diet Snack Bars or our creamy, cooling 100 calorie Smoothies are another good take-along choice. Be sure to keep the smoothies in the cooler until ready to serve.


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