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Create a Healthy Picnic

By Donna Stark 

You know it's summer when birthday parties, family get togethers, and holiday celebrations all take a step outside. Of course, no event is complete unless the grill is fired up and the fold-out table is filled with container after container of food! On one hand, it sure is a sight to see, but on the other, it's no surprise that it can be difficult to stick to your healthy diet when all of that delicious food comes together. But take heart! There are ways to dance around those extra calories. Take a look at how you can turn an unhealthy meal into a healthy one!

Options for the Grill

Sure, hot dogs and hamburgers are the go-to choice for grilling, but don't forget about some of the other options you have too! You can easily cut back on your fat by choosing leaner cuts of protein, such as turkey burgers, skinless chicken breasts, and shrimp.

Don't Forget Your Vegetables

Although most people associate grills with the best steaks and burgers in town, they can also be used to cook everyone's favorite vegetables! Portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, corn, zucchini, and eggplant are perfect choices for the grill. And your vegetarian friends will thank you!

Skip the Expected

Everyone expects to see those neon-orange and artificially-flavored chips sitting on the food table alongside the buckets of high-calorie dips, but maybe it's time to change things up a bit! How about bringing some sliced vegetables, pita chips, and some homemade hummus? Or, at the very least, offer chips that have been baked and make your own dip with yogurt instead of sour cream.

Choose Healthier Sides

It may take a little more of your time, but it will be well worth it in the end! Skip the days-old, pre-made macaroni and potato salad you can get at the grocery store and make your own with healthier ingredients! The flavors will stand out and everyone will appreciate that they aren't eating a week's worth of calories if they go back for seconds!

Drink the Good Stuff

Skip the soda and sugary drinks. Your guests will drink other options if they are available so make sure they are! Create a make-your-own beverage bar by setting out a variety of fresh fruit, such as berries, watermelon, lemon and lime slices, along with pitchers of water or seltzer. Include some fresh basil and mint too!

Lighten Up Dessert

Everyone loves fruit so grab what is in season and get creative! Grill some peaches or pineapple, top a scoop of sorbet with fresh berries, or stick to the old standby and make a killer fruit salad. Save the brownies and cake for another time.

Healthy Picnics are Possible

Congratulations! You've done well. The entire meal has been completely revamped and is a lot healthier than usual because you took the time to plan and care for everyone's overall health! Now the only thing left to do is to sit back and enjoy it!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in La Verne, Calif.

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