Hosting Healthy Outdoor Meals Hosting Healthy Outdoor Meals


Healthy Outdoor Meals

Picnic and cookout season is here! When it comes to healthy outdoor meals, how you prepare and store your foods is just as important as what you serve. These tips will help you host an outdoor gathering that will keep everyone healthy and happy.

Give your guests options.

Help guests stick to their eating plans by providing a variety of options. Large leaves of romaine lettuce can be used to make wraps for those who want to enjoy their burgers without a bun. Marinate vegetable kabobs or mushrooms to grill for guests who don’t want meat. Vegetable sticks with a bean dip are a good option for those who want to avoid munching on potato chips.

Keep track of the time.

Foods can spoil quickly in summer temperatures, so keep track of how long they have been sitting on the serving table. Don’t keep them out of refrigeration for longer than 2 hours. If the temperature outside is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then this time limit drops to 1 hour. Don’t allow the temperature of foods to fall in the danger zone between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria can grow rapidly in this temperature range. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold by using warming trays, slow cookers, ice packs and coolers.

Make food swaps.

Mayonnaise and cream don’t hold up well in warm temperatures. By swapping them out for other ingredients, you can also make your favorite picnic foods healthier. Choose oil and vinegar based dressings for potato salads. Get creative with fresh salads and skip cream-based baked casseroles. If you can’t do without with your favorite dishes, try recipes that reduce the amount of mayonnaise used like this Pasta Salad with Grapes and Pecans.

Take advantage of the season.

There is no better time of year for fresh foods than picnic season. Leave the cookies and cakes for the holidays, and make fruit your dessert. Grill fruits for a special treat. You can also turn fresh fruit purees into frozen yogurt or popsicles.

Dill Salmon Spread RecipeDill Salmon Spread


Dill Salmon Spread Recipe

Salmon is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. This recipe provides a great way to use leftover salmon for a nutritious, protein-rich snack. Serve this spread as an appetizer with whole grain crackers, or use it as a filling for wraps and sandwiches.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/4 recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5.4g
3%Saturated Fat 0.6g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 33mg
Sodium 142mg
Total Carbohydrate 1.4g
Dietary Fiber 0.2g
Sugars 0.7g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 5%Vitamin A 5%
Iron 3%Calcium 1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes


  • 6 oz. chopped cooked and cooled salmon (about 1 cup)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil mayonnaise or low-fat mayonnaise
  • ½ tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp fine ground sea salt


  1. Place the salmon in a medium bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the green portion of the onions. Add the remaining onions to the bowl with the salmon.
  2. Add the mayonnaise, dill, yogurt, lemon zest and salt. Stir well to combine all ingredients.
  3. Garnish with the reserved green onions. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before serving.

Create Healthy HabitsCreate Healthy Habits


Create Healthy Habits

Incorporate morning and evening routines.

Having a plan for how you will begin and end each day in a healthy way will keep you motivated to reach your goals. Morning and evening routines create the consistency necessary to form healthy habits. In the morning, drink 2 cups of water, work out, or make your eating plan for the day. At night, prepare healthy lunches and snacks, schedule 10 minutes to read, or wind down with a relaxing yoga session.

Try things more than once.

Whether it’s a new workout or a new food, never give up on a healthy change after trying it only once. You may simply need to make adjustments so that it’s a better fit for you. If you dislike strength training in the weight room, try a muscle conditioning class. If you can't stand broccoli, look for new recipes with creative ways to prepare it, or try other cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage.

Make vegetables non-negotiable.

Few other foods provide the same unique plant nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber for so few calories as vegetables. You might not like them at first, but they are an essential part of healthy eating. Create the habit of having some type of vegetable at every meal. Start by using vegetables as mix-ins or toppings for some of your favorite foods. Add shredded cabbage to tacos and stir bell peppers and spinach into scrambled eggs. As you develop a preference for certain types of vegetables, transition to larger portions to make them the focus of your meals.

Insist on healthy snacks.

Snacking when you’re hungry doesn’t have to ruin your eating plan. Stay one step ahead and keep healthier snacks like low-sugar yogurt, nuts, seeds and fresh fruit easily accessible. When you attend meetings or parties, offer to provide a healthy dish. Your fellow attendees will appreciate a nutritious option.

Tips to Keep Track of Water Intake Tips to Keep Track of Water Intake


Tips to Keep Track of Water Intake

Recommended water intake for healthy adults is 8 to 12 cups per day (64 to 96 ounces). Make sure you drink enough water by finding a way to track your intake that works for you.

Tracking with MyFoodDiary

If you are logging your foods with MyFoodDiary, you can add a water tracker to the dashboard. Once you’ve logged into your account, simply click the gear icon in the top right, select “settings,” and then choose “goals.” Once you’ve set a water consumption goal, you will see a progress bar on the dashboard page.

Use a designated water bottle

Designate a water bottle to use everyday, and know how many ounces it holds. For example, you can keep a 32-ounce bottle with you to sip from all day, keeping in mind you will need to drink two bottles to reach 64 ounces. To make sure you get the water you need, set goals for the ounces you will drink by certain times. For example, drink 12 ounces by lunch or a full bottle before your evening workout.

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Schedule it

If keeping track of every ounce you drink is challenging, align your intake with specific times of the day. First, select an 8-ounce glass that you will use for your water. If you drink one glass at the top of every hour of an 8-hour work day, you will consume 64 ounces. You can also plan your water consumption with your meals and snacks. Drink two glasses at breakfast, lunch and dinner. To reach 64 ounces, add a glass mid-morning and one in the afternoon. A reminder alarm on your phone may be helpful.

Be creative

A more creative way to track water intake can be fun for the whole family. First, select 8 to 12 dried beans from the pantry, depending on how many glasses of water you need each day. Keep two small bowls on the countertop or on your desk where you will see them. Each morning, place all of your beans in one bowl. Every time you drink a cup (8 ounces) of water, take a bean out of the first bowl and place it into the second bowl. By the end of the day, you’ll know you have reached your goal if you have transferred all of your beans to the second bowl.

Oatmeal Cherry Cobbler in a Mug RecipeOatmeal Cherry Cobbler in a Mug


The best way to control portion sizes for desserts is to make individual servings. With this recipe, you can create a quick and simple cherry cobbler dessert in a mug.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1.2g
1%Saturated Fat 0.2g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 1mg
Sodium 291mg
Total Carbohydrate 54.2g
Dietary Fiber 5.5g
Sugars 30.3g
Protein 7.1g
Vitamin C 3%Vitamin A 8%
Iron 6%Calcium 13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Yield: 1 serving

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 3 minutes


  • 1 cup frozen, pitted sweet cherries (no sugar added)
  • 2 tbsp old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp milk (any variety)
  • 1 tsp chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


  1. Place the frozen cherries in a 12-ounce microwave-safe mug.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the vanilla. Add the milk and continue to stir until a thick batter forms.
  3. Pour the batter over the cherries and spread it to cover them.
  4. Microwave the mug on high for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Check every 30 seconds because microwave cooking times can vary. The cake will become firm when cooked through and the cherries will bubble to the top. Watch closely the last 15 seconds as the cherries may begin to splatter.
  5. Remove from the microwave. Top with the nuts, if desired. Serve warm. Stir the cake portion of the cobbler into the cherries as you eat.
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