It’s National Picnic Month! The summer season favors grilling, dining alfresco and enjoying one of life’s greatest pleasures outdoors – food! Enjoying the sunshine, sitting on a blanket, indulging in delicious foods, and spending time with family and friends defines a perfect summer outing. However, if you’re loading up your picnic baskets with foods that aren’t going to make you feel your best or satiate you in the right ways, then it can detract from achieving that ideal summer vibe. This is why adding healthy picnic foods that will nourish and energize you is critical for an optimal picnicking experience.
Here’s our spin on a way to make a picnic healthy and fun, as well as our suggestions for the best places to picnic in Salem.
What should I pack for my picnic during National Picnic Month?
Let’s start with appetizers. Here are some recommendations that are tasty and good for your oral health:
- Fresh fruit: A colorful arrangement of summer fruits like cherries, berries, watermelon, kiwi or mandarin oranges will satisfy hungry appetites and hydration, while also presenting a delicious array of flavors and textures. You can also make fruit kebabs for a more playful spin! Many fruits contain lots of antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C, that help protect gums and other tissues from cell damage and bacterial infection.
- Seasonal veggies: Light and crunchy vegetables like asparagus tips, broccoli bites, sliced summer squash, cucumbers, carrots, or cherry tomatoes are a great addition to any spread (especially when paired with what’s next!). Crisp veggies can help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath, while also protecting tooth enamel.
- Delectable dips: You know what pairs well with the veggies noted above? Dips! Be sure to pack nutritious dip options like hummus, salsa, fat-free bean dip or low-fat yogurt with herbs and spices. A dip like hummus is tooth-friendly because its protein-rich chickpeas don’t contain any saturated fat or cholesterol, making it a good choice for your overall health. Additionally, chickpeas are rich in folic acid, which keeps your mouth healthy by promoting cell growth throughout your body.
Check out these ideas for your main meal:
- Sandwiches: Can you imagine a picnic without a solid sandwich spread? Our recommendation is to make sandwiches with lean meat on whole grain bread, or veggie wraps with avocado and hummus. The B vitamins and iron found in whole grains help keep gums healthy, and the magnesium keeps bones and teeth strong.
- Pasta salad: Cold pasta salad is an easy and delicious addition to serve at any kind of picnic or summer cookout! Consider making a hummus pasta salad with whatever veggies your family and friends prefer. The best part about this type of recipe is that you can make it gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or dairy-free depending upon the preferences and dietary restrictions of the crowd you’re serving.
What are some of your favorite, healthy recipes to bring along to your outdoor summer feasts?
Where is the best place to picnic in Salem, MA during National Picnic Month?
While Salem is most notably associated with Halloween and the fall season, it’s a wonderful place to visit year-round. Here are a few of our favorite places to picnic in the area:
- Salem Common: Located right in the heart of downtown Salem, this grassy green 8-acre public park has been a common area since the 17th Century. It’s a prime location for picnics as well as walks and photo opps!
- Forest River Park: With lots of trees, a dazzling view of the harbor, bike paths, picnic areas, two beaches, a playground, swimming pool, a baseball field, and more, Forest River Park is a great way to spend an afternoon in Salem.
- Salem Willows: A scenic, seaside public park with a picnic area, video arcade, promenade along the water & more, Salem Willows is a great way to spend the day.
- Charlotte Forten Park: As Salem’s newest green space, this waterfront park provides another place to get outside and picnic during a visit to Salem.
Where’s your favorite place to picnic in Salem? Although we totally understand if you want to keep it your own hidden gem…
Questions about anything oral health or dental health-related? Contact us – we’re here to help!