The sun’s bright and weather is fine — just right for some picnicking! Maybe you’ll pack a blanket and basket to share the day with your loved ones, but having picnics with your company can also be a ton of fun and pretty healthy while you’re at it. Corporate wellness is big in Los Angeles, and with that comes a focus on employee health. Whether you’re the organizer of the picnic or just an attendee trying to bring something to the potluck, consider these healthy and yummy food ideas for your next office picnic!
- Hydrate Well: So many calories are sadly from drinks, which slip down without us noticing. If anything, you’d probably want to save those liquid calories for the beers or fruity drinks. So, instead of bringing a couple 2-liters of soda to your office picnic, try something healthier. This doesn’t have to be tedious, though. Having some fruit-infused water is refreshing and low-calorie, or even unsweetened 100% fruit juice. A simple tip that I’ve learned that works for many things is freezing liquids in ice trays — such as freezing coffee, juice, or berries — and then dropping those cubes into whatever drink you have later. It’s pretty, too!
- Skip the Chip: If you’re really thinking employee health, try substituting out some common calorie-laden crisps for something else. Potato chip alternatives can still be crunchy and savory! Pretzels, mini rice cakes, and low fat popcorn are all good substitutes for chips. Or, better yet, skip the chip-like snacks all together for some crunchy produce like carrot sticks, cucumbers, or kale chips. You can serve these seasoned with a little salt and pepper, or with some flavorful hummus on the side, and nobody will even miss the potato chips!
- Fresh Local Produce: There are so many farmers markers’ in LA (and also Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Trader Joe’s) that finding fresh fruits and vegetables is a piece of cake. Since picnic season is summer season, all of the fruits and vegetables will be at peak ripeness. These treats are full of fiber and vitamins — and if that’s not enough, are also delicious and easy to prepare! You can either leave the produce as-is after washing, or do a little chopping and mixing. For example, wash some cherries and grapes and place them in a bowl and that’s a great alternative to those heavy picnic brownies! Or, cut up some bell peppers, cabbage, and other veggies for a quick-toss salad. Personally, I don’t think a picnic is a picnic without watermelon with a sprinkle of lime — yum!
- Grain Alternative Salads: Leafy green salads are tasty, but salads made with beans and other non-grain alternatives are also great choices for company picnics. They’re flavorful and a little more filling (and less likely to wilt) than their all-green counterparts! Consider a salad with couscous, chickpeas, or quinoa and you’ve got it 🙂 Bonus: Typically these salads also use very light vinaigrette as dressing, so that part will be healthy too! A super traditional preparation of couscous is in a salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, olive oil, and Mediterranean spices.
Corporate wellness can also extend to the events that your company holds, and healthy food should be a big part of that. An office picnic is a great way to have some company bonding too!