How to Have a Healthy Picnic
(Even During a Pandemic)
Are you sick of being stuck in your house? Living quarantined is enough to make us go crazy, even if it is for our own good.
Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is extremely important to help keep you and your loved ones safe. But we aren’t actually quarantined. There is no order for us to stay inside our homes and not leave. We are just supposed to be practicing social distancing.
In all honesty, we HAVE to be leaving our houses. Getting fresh air and sunlight is a huge part of boosting our immune systems to help us fight infections and/or viruses.
A picnic is a perfect way to get yourself out of the house into the fresh air to clear your mind and help you improve your immune system.
Positive Benefits of Getting Fresh Air and Sunlight
Staying inside all the time isn’t good for your health. The air is stuffy and no matter how many windows you have, the sun isn’t hitting your skin.
There are generally not as many plants inside your house as there are outside. Plants give you fresh oxygen to breathe in. Oxygen is breathed into your lungs and transferred throughout your body via red blood cells.
Oxygen is used to help your cells with energy. Oxygen helps to keep us alert and awake which is why we get that fresh feeling when we get outside and breathe in the air (especially in areas with lots of trees around).
Sunlight provides us with vitamin D. Our bodies can only synthesize vitamin D if the sunlight directly hits our skin with no windows in between them. Vitamin D levels are often found to be deficient in people living in the western world.
Vitamin D is antiviral, meaning it can fight and help to prevent viruses. This isn’t to say that staying out in the sun will eradicate a virus, but it definitely helps your immune system to have a better shot at fighting one.
Throughout time, open-air hospitals (or the use of fresh air and sunlight) have been essential to the reduction of spread and severity of many viral outbreaks. Of course, using proper hygiene practices, wearing face masks, and treatment protocols are necessary for this as well.
Some conditions that the use of fresh air and vitamin D have been shown to improve include:
- Heart attack
- Septic wounds
- Pain (reduction of pain medication use by 22%)
- Secondary respiratory infections
It’s definitely worth getting outside to help your immune system. Going on a picnic is a great way to avoid the risk of getting COVID-19 at restaurants. You’re also able to pack healthy foods that help your gut and immune systems to be at their prime.
Foods to Pack for a Healthy Picnic
So if you’re planning on going on a picnic, especially to improve your health, grabbing unhealthy snacks is going to decrease the abilities of your immune system regardless of how much fresh air and sunlight you get.
Your gut is directly associated with immune health. If your gut microbiome is out of whack, your immune system will follow shortly after.
So to keep your gut healthy you’ll want to eat healthy foods. Here are our top suggestions on what to bring along for your picnic.
Salads are a great way to get your much-needed dose of fiber and nutrients into your diet. Toss your salad ahead of time, leaving out anything that can make it soggy and unappealing (throw those in once you’re ready to eat so it’s still fresh tasting).
Make sure to incorporate a variety of different fruits and vegetables. You can also get salad toppers at your local grocery stores like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits that give a nice extra crunch and flavor. These types of toppings also provide you with a multitude of immune-boosting polyphenols.
For salad dressing, go for an olive oil-based dressing. Studies have been done on citrus olive oils and were found that they are full of essential antioxidants and polyphenols.
2. Nutrient-Stuffed Sandwiches
Sandwiches are a great way to get a ton of nutrients with one easy to eat food. They’re convenient and they travel well. Make sure you use whole wheat bread so you’re getting the most nutritional value and fiber.
Try adding some new vegetables to your sandwich outside of (or in addition to) your normal lettuce and tomato.
- Cucumbers make for a really fresh sandwich.
- Radishes can give a little extra bite and crunch.
- Use an alternative to your normal lettuce like spinach, watercress, or kale.
- Peppers can add some flavor, spice (if you like that type of pepper), and crunch.
Pro tip: pack anything that might make your sandwich soggy in a separate container so it doesn’t ruin your bread.
Hummus is a combination of extremely healthy ingredients like chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, and olive oil. Sometimes other ingredients are added like spices, peppers, and garlic to give added benefits and flavors.
Hummus provides you with vitamins A, E, and C. It also has been shown to improve iron levels along with potassium, magnesium, and several others.
Hummus can be eaten with fresh veggies like peppers or carrots. Or you can eat it with chips. Just be sure you’re picking healthier chip options like blue corn tortilla chips or pita chips.
4. Veggies and Dip
If hummus isn’t your thing (it does have a very distinct flavor) go for a different type of bean dip. There are several types of bean dips and it might just take one specific bean for you to have your go-to healthy snack.
Salsa is another awesome option that provides you with a combination of healthy vegetables in an easy to eat container.
Again opt for veggies or healthier options than your normal tortilla chips.
Get some extra polyphenols by making fruit kebabs. Pop some berries, cut up melon, and other fruits onto some skewers so you’re getting plenty of polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients.
Some Extra Tips for a Successful Picnic
Create a rainbow! The more colorful the foods you have in your picnic (such as fruits and vegetables), the more variety of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial polyphenols you will consume.
Make sure you keep your cold foods cold and your hot foods hot. You don’t want to worry about getting food poisoning or be exposed to any unnecessary and unhealthy bacteria.
Since most of our suggestions were cold foods make sure to keep them anywhere below 35 degrees Celsius. Otherwise, you’ll be exposing yourself to spoilage bacteria and biofilm formation.
Whatever foods you do decide to bring make sure they support good health. The more unhealthy fat, sodium, or sugar-ridden foods you eat the more you put yourself at risk for a leaky gut.
Leaky guts mean your immune system is at risk. Atrantil has been proven to nourish your microbiome, so your GI tract can heal itself.
During this time we cannot put ourselves at risk with unhealthy foods. So, keeping healthy foods on hand is essential to making sure you and your loved ones stay safe.
So grab your mask and picnic basket. Enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and delicious (healthy) foods with your family. (Just make sure you’re practicing social distancing as well.)
Let us know your favorite healthy foods for a picnic in the comments below!