Warmer weather means you’re likely spending more time outdoors, which is wonderful for boosting mood levels and getting in more steps or even running. It’s also a great excuse to dine al fresco with friends and family at picnics, barbecues and by the pool. Instead of letting these get togethers derail your weight-loss efforts, you can easily pack healthy picnic options that are rich in protein, fiber and important nutrients.
Here, five great picks to stock up on from Trader Joe’s:
Why it made the cut: Trader Joe’s light brie cuts more than half the fat from its traditional brie, but still has a creamy, decadent flavor. Each ounce contains just 70 calories and 2.5 grams of saturated fat, compared to 110 calories and 6 grams of fat in the traditional version. That’s even less than most hard cheeses, which average about 100 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat per ounce.
Pairing the light brie with Raisin Rosemary Crisps not only makes for an impressive picnic option, but it also keeps calories in check, since 11 crisps clock in at just 90 calories. Overall, this combo is the perfect way to lighten a picnic cheese plate without losing any flavor (or wow factor).
Why it made the cut: The combination of fiber and protein from veggies, quinoa and lentils in this salad makes for a hearty picnic option, and the zesty curry dressing keeps your taste buds satisfied. What’s more, it has 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein in each 1/2-cup serving. It makes a terrific side dish or healthy base for more lean proteins and colorful veggies.
Why it made the cut: This sweet and spicy slaw is loaded with fresh flavor and crunch for a refreshing picnic side dish. It’s a great alternative to traditionally mayo-laden picnic sides like potato salad. A 1-cup serving contains 3 grams of fiber for just 80 calories, so it’s light yet filling — the perfect combination for a summer picnic.
Why it made the cut: Chips and dip are probably the easiest picnic item, but they’re not always the lightest. This option takes advantage of Trader Joe’s fun produce picks, like these rainbow baby carrots, and its great selection of healthy, pre-made dips. Try pairing crunchy carrots with the spicy, nutty Jalapeño Lime Almond Dip, which is made from simple ingredients and contains just 70 calories per serving. Not only is it a healthy snack option, but it’s also portable and pretty.
Why it made the cut: Picnics can often be meat-centric, but you shouldn’t overlook veggies. These antipasto ones take a page from the Mediterranean diet and are marinated in heart-healthy olive oil. They’re a great option for adding something savory and salty to the spread that isn’t potato chips. Each 1/4-cup serving has 60 calories and 2 grams of fiber thanks to veggies like eggplant, tomatoes, artichokes and zucchini. Plus, these veggies are especially great for picnics because they come packed at room temperature — no need to worry about refrigeration.