Picnics are a great way to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine of summer, while indulging in local in-season produce. Here are 6 ways to improve your health this summer while enjoying a picnic.
1. Mother Nature Boosts Mood. A study published in 2010 showed that as little as 5 minutes of outdoor activity in the beauty of mother nature boosted the mood and self-esteem of men and women of all age groups. So walk to a park, garden, or other natural setting to set up your picnic. But of course be sure to bring your bug repellent and do a good tick check after your picnic.
2. Take a Breath of Fresh Air. While you are out surrounded by nature, make sure to take some slow, deep breaths and appreciate being in the moment. By slowing your breath to a steady, deep rhythm, you can increase feelings of joy and wellbeing.
3. Eat Local Produce. To prepare for your picnic, go to the local farmers market to pick up some fresh, locally-grown, organic produce. In-season produce will have traveled shorter distances from farm to table, making it more nutrient rich. It will also have been allowed to ripen on the vine longer, increasing its levels of nutrients such as Vitamin C.
4. Eating in Full Color. Fill your picnic basket up with the colors of the rainbow. Each color has its own blend of phytochemicals in the form of antioxidants, flavonoids, phytonutrients and more. So, eating a spectrum of colorful produce will help give your body healing and vital nutrients. Some great picnic foods are: carrot sticks, apple wedges, purple grapes, melons, celery sticks, and cherry tomatoes.
5. Lean into the Protein. A picnic is a great time to get in some lean proteins, which are essential building blocks for muscles and tissue regeneration. Lean protein consists of poultry, fish, nuts and seeds. Some picnic protein ideas are chicken salad, chicken kabobs, grilled or canned salmon, trail mix, or roasted almonds.
6. Friends and Family as Medicine. Research has shown that social connection, strong relationships and healthy family ties have a stress-relieving effect on the body as well as increasing long term health. Picnics are a great way to spend time with loved ones. Bring along games to encourage play and interaction like croquet, Frisbee, horse shoes, jump ropes or hula hoops. Not only will it be fun, it will help increase your cardiovascular health.
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