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Give Your Picnic a Makeover

By Ginny Greene, Editor
July 12, 2012; 11:25 AM ET

One of the great joys of summer is eating outdoors. Whether grilling in the backyard or packing a portable feast, we all have our favorite foods. But our old standbys are not always the healthiest choices.

Photo courtesy of gamene

"Often when we think of summertime picnics we think of grilling hamburgers or hot dogs, or we stop at the local shop for a bucket of fried chicken," says Heather Mangieri, a registered dietitian and owner of Nutrition CheckUp. "Our baskets are filled with side dishes such as potato salad and coleslaw, then we top off the already calorie-busting meal with sweets."

A little food knowledge can go a long way, says Mangieri, a Pittsburgh-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Here's a quick picnic makeover that Mangieri suggests. It has substantial savings in calories and fat:

Traditional picnic

One hamburger (with just a tad of ketchup and mustard) plus a half-cup each of potato salad and coleslaw packs in about 900 calories and around 60 grams of fat, she says. Add a 1-ounce serving of chips and French onion dip and the total is close to 1,200 calories and 76 grams of fat.

The makeover:

Related:
Keep Summer Healthy: Shape Up Your Eating Habits
How to Increase Your Family's Physical Fitness

They Won't Know It's Exercise: Active Play Ideas for Kids

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