One of the biggest challenges people often face when implementing new dietary behaviors is what happens outside the home. Social situations and cues are often the number one reason for throwing people off their dietary regime. Eating out, being invited to dinner parties, birthday celebrations, holidays, the list can go on and on where it feels like many dietary temptations are awaiting you. Unless you’re ok with staying home for ever more, implementing strategies with how to deal with social situations that involve food not only make or break reaching your goals, but more importantly sustaining them.
Pretty much every season brings with it its own food temptations. Summer is no exception offering endless cues such as ice cream, refreshing fruit drinks, desserts and BBQ’s. Another very common summer activity that’s based around food is picnics. Whether it’s a family day out to the local park or enjoying the beach with some friends, packing a picnic is often a pleasant necessity.
The major go-to staples that people think about with picnics though are often far from the paleo template. This may then impose a major hurdle that people can fall at and think that it’s simply too difficult to eat this way while still enjoying the pleasantries of a summer picnic. This is far from the case though and simply requires a little pre-planning and creative, outside the box thinking.
For many of you reading this, paleo may already be a complete way of life that thinking any other way simply doesn’t enter your mind. For others, you may be brand new to this journey and still getting to grips with the dos and don’ts of this approach. Either way, we can still all be faced with social situations that require us to think how we can make it even more interesting than the conventional way. The following are a host of paleo swaps that you can pack in your next picnic and enjoy a sugar and processed grain free picnic.
Meat roll ups: 1 slice of cold meat (ham, parma ham, pastrami etc.) layered with 1 teaspoon of paleo mayonnaise and 1 pickle or tomato and rolled
Seed Crackers with guacamole or your selection of topping
Cooked cold meats: chicken, beef, ham etc.
Coconut chicken: this is amazing served cold with a large side salad with mango salsa
Homemade vegetable crisps
Vegetable selection: celery, peppers, carrots, radishes, cucumbers
Tuna Cucumber sandwiches: slice cucumber into disc shapes around 1cm thick. Layer with tuna mixed with either olive oil or paleo mayonnaise and sandwich with another slice of cucumber
Salmon peppers: slice 1 pepper in half, layer with smoked salmon and sprinkle with dill or chives depending on taste preference
Mason Jar Salads: See salad recipes for some ideas
Dark chocolate (above 80% cocoa) topped with nut butter or on its own
Raw Chocolate Nut Bars
Homemade fizzy pop: This is by far the simplest, but most refreshing drink to make. Simply take some carbonated water and infuse with your fruits of choice. Place the water with the fruits in the fridge overnight so all of the flavours really come out. Some that work well are lemon and lime, orange, mixed berries, apple and blackberry. You can also use this mixture to make fruit flavored popsicles. Simply pour the mixture into popsicle molds and store in the freezer until ready to serve.
Fruit kebabs: before stacking the fruit, soak bbq sticks in water for a couple of hours, this will stop any splintering. Cut a different selection of fruits (strawberries, bananas, melon, kiwi etc.) and begin layering them onto the soaked skewers.
Dark chocolate covered strawberries: melt 80% dark chocolate (either in the microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of water), take a strawberry by the stock and cover in chocolate. Lay on a plate and allow to cool then store in the fridge.
For many of us, one of the features of a summer picnic is often an adult beverage or two. Many of the alcoholic drinks out there are packed with added sugar and if possible should be avoided. For many people, avoiding alcohol totally is needed but for those that are able to add a small amount to their template, below are some examples to make picnic-ready:
• Sparkling wine such as prosecco or cava
• Organic red wine
• Low sugar mojitos- 1-2 shots of tequila mixed with soda water, fresh lime juice and lots of lime. To mix it up you can also add in some coconut milk and shake together well.
By Emily Maguire