Embrace the magnificent Florida sunshine by having a picnic! Studies show that spending time with nature can reduce stress, improve mood and concentration, and promote a higher quality of life. Besides, what’s not to love about soaking up the sun, enjoying fresh air, and eating delicious food?
(*You can even bring your furry four-legged friends with you at some parks!)
Here are our tips & steps to throwing together an awesome picnic:
1. Choose a location. Say hello to the perfect picnic spot, USF Riverfront Park. There is plenty of shade, the breeze and water are super calming, and you can rent a hammock to rest your food baby after the feast! Other great options include Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Downtown Tampa, Vinoy Park in Downtown St. Pete, or anywhere grassy on campus like MLK plaza!
2. Don’t forget non-food items. Bring a large blanket, towel, or bedsheet to sit on comfortably. You’ll also need a basket or cooler, sunscreen, plates, bowls, utensils, and napkins.
3. Pack extra water. Always stay hydrated when you are spending a long amount of time outside. Even if you are in the shade, you can become dehydrated. The most common cause of daytime fatigue is mild dehydration. Pack a refillable water bottle to stay energized!
4. Cook healthy dishes. Ditch the traditional mayonnaise-filled, fried, and processed picnic foods. Treat yourself with fruits, whole grains, and low-fat (goat or feta) cheeses. Swap avocado for mayonnaise in sandwiches and balsamic vinegar or olive oil for cream-based dressing in pasta salads. Enjoy whole grain crackers and nuts instead of chips, and drink water instead of juice or soda.
Pasta salad is filling and very easy to make. Check out some healthy pasta salad recipes here!
Sandwiches are great and all, but designing your own “open-faced” toast is fun, beautiful, and tasty. Without the added bread on top, you really get to enjoy the flavor of the sandwich toppings (and save calories). Buzzfeed has a whole list of creative toast recipes to try.
What are you waiting for? Grab some friends or your dog and start getting ready for your picnic today!