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Celebrate Spring with National Picnic Day April 23rd

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Spring has officially arrived although sometimes Mother Nature still brings us cold weather in New England. National Picnic Day is a great way to get outdoors with friends and family to celebrate the warmer days. If we are not lucky enough to have sunshine this day, a picnic inside is still fun for the young ones, and the young at heart!

Enjoying a fantastic picnic is easy and adds to the health benefits we enjoy from time outside in nature. Not only does exposure to the sun bring us increased vitamin D exposure (good for healthy bones, immunity, inflammation), but time outside in nature can boost mood, reduce stress, and contribute to overall wellness. Pack outdoor activities to keep kids entertained and make a day of it. Family favorites in the Roy household include frisbee, soccer, magnifying glass and bucket to collect little friends and souvenirs from nature, and wiffle ball.

Food is of course a main attraction for this day, so pack family favorites that travel well. Food storage containers make many items picnic friendly, whether you want to use a cooler with ice packs, or freeze water bottles and yogurt packs to not only keep your items cool, but also as part of the picnic to enjoy later on!

My family’s go-to picnic includes yogurt tubes frozen (Chobani has a nice brand for kids with a little less added sugar), different kinds of sandwiches cut in quarters so we can have one of each kind (PB&J, turkey & swiss, hummus & cucumber, and tuna & celery), fruit salad (frozen grapes keep this one cool all day long), homemade coleslaw (recipe below), and chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies (with all the butter and sugar my grandmother used in her secret recipe). Don’t forget plenty of water for a hopefully warm day in the sun and simply enjoy!

Broc & Brussels Slaw

  • 1 lb broccoli, chopped
  • 1 C brussel sprouts, chopped
  • ½ vidalia onion, sliced
  • 2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced, ideally different colors
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

For the dressing:

  • ½ C apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • 1 t honey

Directions: Use a food processor to slice all the veggies into thin pieces. Combine the ingredients for the dressing and blend over the sliced veggies. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours for optimal flavor profile.

Be sure to reach out to the dietitians at Waverley Oaks to help support your own balanced meals and special events like this one, email nutrition@waverleyoaks.com.

Content submitted by Jessica Roy, MS, RD, LDN