Perfect picnics

Picnics are a great British tradition and a good way for you and your family to eat a healthy meal together.

If you combine a picnic with some physical activity – such as games or a brisk walk – you can have a healthy and fun day out that doesn’t have to cost much.

Your picnic basket

So, what’s going in your picnic basket?

Start with foods that contain carbohydrates (carbs), as these are an important source of energy. Foods that have carbs include breads, pasta and potatoes.

Choose wholegrain or wholemeal varieties where possible. For example, try wholegrain bread for your sandwiches. A wholemeal pasta salad also works well in a picnic.

Next, think about including protein, which is not only filling but helps to promote growth and repair in our bodies. Protein can come from lean meat in sandwiches, such as turkey or chicken breast, as well as from beans and pulses in salads.

Don't forget to bring plenty to drink. Take a flask of water or 100% fruit juice without added sugar, instead of a bottle of sugary, high-calorie fizzy drinks.

Find out more about healthy eating.

Get your 5 A DAY

A picnic is a great chance for the whole family to hit their 5 A DAY fruit and veg target.

Try a multicoloured salad with peppers, tomato, cucumber, carrot and lettuce.

Swap sugary and high-calorie treats, such as chocolate and cakes, for a fruit salad. Also, why not pack a piece of fruit for each member of the family to eat while on the move?

Fruit juice also counts towards your 5 A DAY, but it only counts as one portion no matter how much you drink. Fruit juice can be high in sugar, so look out for the ones without added sugar.

Get more 5 A DAY ideas in 5 A DAY and your family.

Get active

Once you’re outside, use the opportunity to get active. Physical activity is important for the health of children and adults, and is a great way to spend time together.

A picnic is always welcome after a brisk walk, bike ride or energetic ball game.

When lunch is over, try playing a gentle game of frisbee or badminton.

Anything that raises your heart rate counts. It could be something as simple as a game of tag.

Find more ideas for getting active with your kids.

Stay sun safe

Remember to protect yourself and the children from the sun while you’re outside.

Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Learn more about sun protection.

Bites and stings

Don't let wasps or midges ruin your day out. Make sure you pack the insect repellent and cover up if necessary.

Find out what the 10 UK insects that bite or sting are. If you or someone else gets bitten or stung, find out how to treat insect bites and stings.

 

How much is 5 A DAY?

Exactly how much is one portion of fruit or vegetables? Dietitian Azmina Govindji explains

Media last reviewed: 25/10/2013

Next review due: 25/10/2015

Page last reviewed: 16/10/2012

Next review due: 16/10/2014

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