Wellness + Nutrition

Pack in more fun for your next outdoor meal

Good food. Sunny days. Fun times. How can it get better than that? You can make eating outside even more enjoyable with a little planning ahead. Whether you go to a local park or just your own yard, try these tips for a happier, healthier outdoor meal.

Keep reading for flavorful recipes to try something new.

Bring these essentials to enjoy the day outside

A cooler with ice will help keep your food cold and prevent it from spoiling. Leaving your cooler in the shade can also keep it colder, longer.

A blanket or large towel is helpful if you choose to sit on the ground, rather than at a table.

Water is a healthier choice than sugary beverages such as lemonade or sweet tea.

Plates and utensils may be needed, depending on what foods and drinks are on your menu.



Healthy foods that are easily portable are best. Try sandwiches made with whole-grain bread, carrot and celery sticks, strawberries, grapes and watermelon slices. Place food in lightweight, resealable containers. Avoid foods that can spoil, such as salads made with mayonnaise.



Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 30+ will protect you from sunburn. Reapply frequently, including after you eat and drink.

Napkins, hand sanitizer and trash bags will help you stay clean, both during and after your meal. Having a trash bag on hand will allow you to leave nature as clean as you found it.




Take these steps to make the best of your day

1. Walk to your destination instead of driving there if possible. This will help you to get some exercise along the way.

2. Only take food out of the cooler when you’re ready to eat. Perishable foods such as cold-cut meats or potato salad should only be left out for 1 to 2 hours at most.

3. Bring a reusable water bottle. This will help you stay hydrated and allow you to refill your bottle if there’s a water station nearby. Filling your bottle with ice can help keep your drink cold even in the bright sunshine.

4. Drink water or chew sugar-free gum when the meal is over to help wash away any food, acids and bacteria left behind in your mouth.

Plan ahead so you can pack fresh, healthy foods.

Gouda turkey club sandwich

This hearty sandwich is filled with tender turkey, creamy Gouda cheese and a light saltiness of bacon that will make your mouth water and satisfy your hunger.



Healthy smile benefits

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    Turkey has plenty of protein and phosphorus to give you energy and help keep your teeth, bones and muscles healthy.

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    Multi-grain bread with whole grains can reduce your risk of heart disease. It's also less likely than white bread to stick to your teeth and cause cavities.

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    Lettuce is a good source of vitamins A, K and folate. It helps produce saliva to clean your mouth and keep your tooth enamel healthy.




2 pieces multi-grain bread

3-4 slices roasted turkey breast

2 strips cooked bacon

1 slice Gouda cheese

2 romaine lettuce leaves

2-3 pieces thinly sliced yellow bell pepper

1-2 pickle slices


1. Place a slice of bread on a plate or cutting board.

2. Layer turkey on the bread, followed by all the toppings.

3. Top with the other slice of bread.

4. Cut in half and place in a resealable container.



Broccoli salad

For a side dish that’s full of flavor and nutrients, look no further than broccoli salad. This crunchy and delicious dish skips the mayo that could spoil outside.



Healthy smile benefits

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    Broccoli is a superfood that’s rich in vitamin C and calcium — two nutrients that can decrease your risk of gum disease.

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    Cheese is packed with calcium for strong teeth and bones. Eating cheese can stimulate saliva to wash away acid and protect you from tooth decay.

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    Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, an antioxidant that can lower inflammation and reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.




For salad:

16 oz finely chopped broccoli

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup finely chopped red onion

½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese


For honey mustard dressing:

⅓ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt


1. Toss sunflower seeds in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Place toasted seeds in a large serving bowl. Add broccoli, onion and cheese.

3. In a separate small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Whisk until well-blended.

4. Pour dressing over salad and stir until broccoli is lightly coated.

5. Marinate at least 20 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.

6. Place in resealable container and it’s ready for your next outdoor meal.