Jennifer McQuillan, Dietetic Technician, Registered
It’s that time of year again…warm weather and the great outdoors. Don’t let July pass you by—get out there and enjoy the season by celebrating National Picnic Month. Need some inspiration? Here are some tips for packing the perfect picnic:
Plan ahead. Planning your menu in advance can help ensure you don’t forget the little odds and ends. Whether you are going to prepare foods ahead of time or grill up something yummy, be sure to check out our recipe collections on campbellnutrition.com for some delicious and healthful menu solutions. One of my favorites is from our Top 20 Summer Meal Hits Collection...Apple-Kissed Turkey Burgers with Pepperidge Farm® Soft White Hamburger Buns, Roasted Asparagus with Lemon & Goat Cheese prepared with Swanson® Vegetable Broth and juicy watermelon! This meal, along with the rest from this series, are simply delicious, easy to make, and less than 500 calories!
If you decide not to grill, sandwiches are great for a pack-ahead picnic. Try one of these better-for-you recipes from Campbell’s Kitchen®:
- Miami Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- Spring Garden Vegetable Sandwiches
- Crabmeat Salad Sandwiches
- Whole Wheat Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Stay hydrated. Don’t forget about staying hydrated while enjoying your picnic celebration. Want a simple, refreshing way to get fruit and vegetables? Stock your cooler with various flavors of our portable, single-serve V8 V-Fusion® beverages:
V8 V-Fusion®: Provides 1 combined cup of fruit and vegetables per 8 fl. oz. can. Available in Strawberry Banana, Pomegranate Blueberry, Concord Grape Raspberry, and Peach Mango.
V8 V-Fusion® Light: Cut calories with our V8 V-Fusion® Light Strawberry Banana! Great taste with ½-cup fruit and vegetables combined per 8 fl. oz. can.
V8 V-Fusion® juice drink box: A true kid pleaser! Pack some V8 V-Fusion® juice drink boxes in favorite flavors like Apple, Berry, Fruit Punch and Grape. It’s an easy, delicious way to offer a ½-cup combined fruit and vegetables per 6.75 fl. oz. serving.
Be safe. As always, any time food is being prepared or served, safety needs to be considered. Getting sick from improper food handling and storage can ruin any social gathering, especially in hot weather. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in six Americans becomes sick from foodborne illness each year.1 So next time you plan a picnic outing, keep these tips in mind:
- Use hand sanitizing wipes when soap and water are not available
- Clean and sanitize coolers and use tight-closing food containers
- Sanitize those handy, environmentally-sound reusable grocery bags
- Keep raw meats, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods
- Use separate preparation and serving utensils for all raw and prepared food to prevent cross contamination
- Pack enough ice/ice packs to keep food cooler temperature below 40°F
- Tip: Beverage coolers are opened more frequently, so keep a separate cooler to help maintain the temperature
- Do not reuse cooler ice for beverages
- Pack a meat thermometer and cook meats to proper temperatures (chicken 165°F; beef burger 160°F)
- Do not leave food out for more than one hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90°F
With all these helpful tips you should be on your way to a perfectly packed picnic season!
Jennifer obtained her Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition from the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ. She is Dietetic Technician, Registered and is ServSafe certified. Her diverse experience in the nutrition field includes her role as a Product and Quality Control Specialist for Atkins Nutritionals and as a Nutrition Data Specialist for Cooper University Hospital. Jennifer uses her nutrition expertise to support the foodservice division at the Campbell Soup Company.
- Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/Accessed April 28, 2014.