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How to pack a healthier picnic

With COVID restrictions easing and warmer weather arriving, it’s a good time to head to the great outdoors and meet up with friends and family. Taking a picnic with you can be a convenient, inexpensive and sociable way to eat lunch at your chosen destination.

Crisps, sausage rolls and fizzy drinks might spring to mind when you think of a picnic, but as the UK celebrates National Picnic Week (19-27 June 2021), consider choosing healthier foods to go in your outdoor feast. Combine your healthy picnic with some physical activity and reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Packing a healthier hamper needn’t be a challenge with these top tips:

Preparation is key

Plan your menu in advance and work out how many people you’re feeding with your picnic. Liaise with the people you’re meeting and work out if you’re each bringing certain items or if you’re catering just for yourself. It will be easy to overindulge on sugar if everyone brings cakes.

DIY dishes

Why not make some things yourself? Homemade food like salads, can be cheaper, tastier and more nutritious. If you’re short of time, make healthier sandwiches by using wholemeal or granary bread and add leaner cooked meats like chicken or turkey, rather than ham or salami.

It’s simple to find or make healthier snacks and nibbles too. Tortilla chips, for instance, are lower in calories and fat than potato crisps. And for a creative way of contributing to your five a day, you could make a picnic dip jar – a jar filled with vegetable sticks resting in a layer of hummus at the bottom.

Stay hydrated

It’s tempting to just pack fizzy drinks or alcohol, but bring water as a healthier alternative to staying hydrated. Add pieces of fresh fruit, such as orange or strawberries, to your bottle before you leave home to give your drink a special twist.

It is very important to understand your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Our simple online health check takes just a few minutes. The Healthier You programme is free to join and you can sign up without visiting your GP. The sessions are now available with a British Sign Language Interpreter if BSL is your first or preferred language.

It might be the most important thing you do today.

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