July is National Picnic Month!

The month of July is often associated with barbecues, picnics and large family get-togethers.  With school out and summer here there may be more kids or visiting family at home.  But don’t worry – there are plenty of inexpensive, healthy snack and meal options to keep everyone happy, healthy and well fed.

Here are some tips for surviving those large get-togethers:

  • Use whole-wheat buns for hot dogs and burgers.   
  • Throw some veggies on the grill along with the meats.  They add great flavor to meat and rice dishes. Some great vegetables to grill are:

◊  Bell peppers ◊  Zucchini ◊  Tomatoes ◊  Squash ◊  Corn ◊  Onions ◊  Eggplant ◊  Mushrooms ◊  Green beans ◊  Asparagus

  • Use lean meats.  With all the extra flavor from the vegetables, you won’t miss the greasiness of fatty meats.
  • Don’t skip meals just so you can have dessert.  Your body won’t feel satisfied if you skip the foods it needs.  And skipping meals leads to overeating and high blood sugars later in the day.
  • Use water as a colorful centerpiece.  Fill a clear glass or plastic pitcher with cold water.  Then add slices of lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, or berries to add color and flavor.  Or, pour juices of different colors into an ice cube tray and make colorful ice cubes for your water pitchers.  Placing a few of these throughout the house or on the table will liven up the place in no time!
  • Eat sensible portions.  Eat what you want, but in reasonable amounts.  Each time you fill up your plate, fill half of it with fruits and veggies and the other half with meat and whole grains.  Don’t forget a cold glass of milk (ask WIC to give you lactose-free milk if you get stomach aches from regular milk).  By the time you’re done with your meal, you may not crave that huge slice of cake anymore and may only want a small piece.