Vitamin Expert
IMage of a picnic basket overlooking the countryside

Enjoy the picnic season by packing energy-giving foods

With longer and, hopefully, warmer days on the horizon, it makes sense to get outside as much as possible and enjoy the time in nature. The human psyche always feels better when it is close to nature so do try to experience this great pleasure.

Packing a picnic for your outdoor adventures is a summertime staple. But what you bring to eat can make all the difference to your energy levels, making sure you’ve got enough get-up-and-go to last you through the day.

Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares five foods to include in your picnic to keep your energy levels up.


Quinoa salad

Quinoa, often mistaken for a grain, is in fact a seed, but one that makes an amazing salad, and contains loads of energising B-vitamins.  For newbies to quinoa, it’s not dissimilar to rice, can be cooked in the same way, but has a much better taste and nutritional profile.

Importantly, quinoa provides a great blend of high levels of protein, complex carbs and fibre, all of which will keep energy sustained throughout the day.

A delicious salad is easy to make and easily transportable for a picnic.  How about a halloumi and quinoa dish?  The quinoa just needs to be boiled in some stock of your choice. Add some chopped spring onions, red peppers, and parsley. Grill some slices of halloumi cheese, put in the fridge overnight, and you’ll have a delicious picnic dish ready to go.


Spanish tortilla

Tortilla combines good levels of protein from the eggs, together with potatoes, and antioxidants from the colourful peppers and onions, making it a winning dish.  This combination is going to keep energy levels high throughout the day.

Tortilla is another recipe that needs very little preparation and can be done the night before and kept in the fridge.  There are many variations of this dish but essentially, sliced potatoes, chopped onions and peppers are fried, and then beaten eggs are added. Cook slowly through on the hob or if you prefer cook in the oven; it really depends on personal choice.  Either way, cut it into slices for a picnic lunch that everyone can enjoy. 


Avocado and mango salad

The healthy fats in avocado keep you feeling fuller for longer, which will also help sustain energy levels. It also contains antioxidants which are great for protecting the body from sunlight, at a cellular level.

The only thing to remember with avocado is that it needs other antioxidants either from lemon or lime juice to stop it going brown.  Indeed, combining avocado with lime juice, mint leaves, other green leaves, and some kind of tropical fruit such as mango provides an amazing combination. Add some roasted pumpkin seeds and olive oil or other French dressing if desired, and you’ve got a nutritious and delicious avocado salad.  This would work well as an accompaniment to any of the other dishes suggested here. 


Mixed bean salad

All beans including kidney, cannellinis and black are nutritional powerhouses.  They’re rich in the B-vitamins which are key for energy production.

A simple bean salad doesn’t need to be low on taste. It’s easy to use tinned beans (any variety you choose), add some fresh chopped tomatoes, onions, fresh basil leaves, together with fresh mozzarella and a little French dressing.

Beans are a great source of protein, as is the mozzarella cheese, and you can always choose a vegan cheese variety if that suits you better. 


Beetroot and goats cheese salad

Beetroot is known to help increase energy levels. This is because it is naturally rich in iron and also contains nitrates which open arteries and help oxygen to flow better around the body.

Whether you choose to just grab some sliced beetroot and eat it alongside your other delicious dishes, or include it as another salad with leaves, is really your choice.  One small tip – beetroot works really well with goat’s cheese.  The taste combination is amazing!

Packing up a picnic with any of the above suggestions means you’ll never be short on energy for your outdoor adventures this summer.

Add comment