Picnic in sweet summertime

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Picnicking is in full swing this summer, and while we should remember that it’s the spirit of the gathering that makes a picnic special, great food also plays an important role in the classic summertime meal.

According to foodtimeline.org, there are multiple ways to enjoy a picnic, ranging from traditional picnics in the park to meals in a canoe with friends.

Sandwiches, chips, pie and lemonade are the most common items consumed at picnics, but there are many other items that can serve as healthier alternatives to traditional fare.

The most interesting combination I’ve heard of is apple slices with lime juice sprinkled over them. The lime juice helps keep the apple slices from turning brown, so they last longer.

Homemade salsa is another healthy option. When salsa is made at home from fresh ingredients, there is nothing tastier. Tortilla chips are also healthier than greasy potato chips because they won’t sit too heavily in your stomach.

Pretzels are always a good choice, too, because most brands pride themselves on being low- or no-fat. When pretzels are paired with pieces of cheese, the result is both healthy and delicious.

With the rising temperatures, overeating during the summer often causes discomfort. To help combat this, simply replace parts of your meals with lighter menu items without missing out on taste. A different take on a traditional sandwich is replacing the bread with a pita.

Since pitas are less spongy than bread, they won’t fill you up as much as bread does.

While full stomachs are important, hydration is the most important part of a day in the great outdoors.

If you prefer water to lemonade, then try Glacéau Smartwater because it is infused with electrolytes, so it’s water with a small kick. Since plastic-bottle waste is not good for the environment, it is more ecologically friendly to invest in a water filtration system like Brita or Pür so you can refill water bottles instead of throwing them away and buying new ones.

Mess-free foods are also great for picnics because no one wants to worry about sticky fingers while basking in the sun. Try foods like dried fruit, trail mix and dried cherries with peanuts for a quick and easy clean-up.

These treats are also packed with vitamins and minerals, so they are healthy alternatives to prepackaged junk food snacks.

For more ideas on picnicking menus, visit foodtimeline.org and try some new recipes because the possibilities for your own summer feast are limitless.

Sarah Rasmussen is a senior in print journalism. Please send comments to edge@spub.ksu.edu.

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