Celebrate Spring - Pack a Picnic!

At last! It's warming up! Start the season with your family, friends and neighbors. Pack a picnic for the park. It's wonderful to be outside in the late spring air. Think about filling your backpack with food for feasting that doesn't hurt your budget, your back, or your health. Skip the bottled drinks and packaged snacks and try some of these.

Snacks for munching: Satisfying crunch that gives you vitamins A, B and K plus healthy fiber instead of empty fat calories.

  • Cut up carrots and celery and bring along some peanut butter or hummus for dipping. All of these pack easily in plastic bags.

  • Nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans are great for snacking and good for the heart.

Wrap up your sandwiches: More taste, fewer calories. Tortillas makes for an easier to eat, better tasting sandwich. Because they are thin, you get more sandwich and less bread.

  • Try corn or whole wheat tortillas. They have ¼ of the calories of white flour tortillas!

  • Avocados make a delicious spread when mashed with a little lime juice, and a great substitute for mayonnaise.

  • Red onion, shredded cheese, cucumber and a bit of bell pepper...or whatever you prefer to add more flavor.

  • Chopped chicken, canned tuna, or mashed beans add protein.

To Make: Mix together all the ingredients. Lay a few lettuce leaves on the tortilla. Place the sandwich mixture in the middle. Roll the tortilla up tightly. For easier nibbling, cut the rolls into 2 inch pieces.

Pasta Salad: (See Recipe below) Easy to carry in plastic bags.

Satisfy Your Thirst: Bring along your own drink. (See Tips below) Pour liquids into clean water bottles and chill or freeze the night before. CAUTION: If you freeze your drink, be sure to leave at least 3 inches of space between the cap and the liquid. The liquid will expand and could explode.

Feast and Enjoy! Happy Spring!



RECIPE: Mexican Pasta Salad

Recipe By Breana Lai
Easy to carry in zip-lock bag. (Bring plastic forks.) Use the recipe below & add tuna or other ingredients that you like.


  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fusilli (about 3 cups)

  • 1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes

  • ½ cup canned black beans, rinsed

  • ½ cup corn, fresh or frozen (thawed)

  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

  • ¼ cup diced red onion

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

DRESSING: Blend ingredients together until smooth.

  • ½ ripe avocado

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 small clove garlic, grated

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon cumin


Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, then drain again. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in tomatoes, beans, corn, cheddar, onion and cilantro. Add the dressing and toss to coat.

Add More Ingredients: Add a can of tuna, chopped carrots, peas, yellow or red pepper. Whatever you like!

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate, without dressing, for up to 1 day. Toss with the dressing about 1 hour before serving.


TIPS: Satisfy your Thirst Make your own refreshing drinks.

  • Lemonade: Mix 3 cups water with ½ cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed or bottled) with 1/3 cup sugar. Pour into water bottles and chill.

  • Lime Cooler: First, make a simple syrup by cooking 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon lime zest, and ½ cup lime juice for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Chill for an hour.

    • Add 3½ cups water, ½ cup lime juice. Pour over crushed ice or freeze for traveling.

    • If not freezing, use 3½ cups of chilled club soda instead of water.

  • Flavor Your Water: Sometimes plain water is boring. Adding flavor that you like is simple. Just mash a bit of fruits in a quart of water; any fruit except bananas. Or use club soda instead of plain water for extra refreshment. Try:

    • ½ cucumber, ½ a lime and ¼ cup mint leaves or just one of each

    • ½ cup strawberries or blackberries

    • Or mash in your favorite herb

Relax and Refresh Yourself!



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