Patriotic Picnic on Your Plate

Jun 24, 2019

What will be your Better Choice(s) this summer? Start with a nod to the 4th of July and make your menus colorful! Here are four tips for making the most out of seasonal fruits and veggies right now:


  1. Red, white and blue! Let seasonal fruits and veggies lead with color as your guide as you build your meal or snack, whether it’s quick and on the go, or for your next big backyard barbecue.  Make it simple yet impactful: serve fruits and veggies as part of your favorite meals! Whether it’s wedges of watermelon, bowls of cherries and/or strawberries with blueberries along with tomato caprese, coleslaw, or other salads, the varieties are endless and easy to prepare and serve. Think of how you can fit the colors of your theme onto your plate.  From blue corn tortilla chips with red salsa, to red, white and blue potato salad (leave the skins on for color and nutrition like fiber!), to a variety of berries served with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, it’s pretty easy and fun to come up with simple ways to make produce part of your party.

  2. Patriotic preparation. You don’t have to be a craft whiz to have fun and serve an eye-catching meal.  Cookie cutters in the shape of flags, stars, or your home state can be fun ways to slice melon, lunch meat, cheese, and other sandwich fixings. Another easy presentation idea is to arrange your fruit by color in the bowl or on a platter.  For a nod to our flag, for stripes, use raspberries, slices of strawberries, or pitted cherries, and for the blue background of the stars on a flag, layer blueberries surrounding small stars shaped from honeydew or other favorite melon. Challenge yourself to find fun ways to bring your theme to life.

  3. Family favorites with a twist. Celebrate foods and recipes you love by including a variety of food groups. Start with your favorite main dish and think of ways to add another nutritious food.  Whether it’s a slice of star-shaped cheese for your burger, a whole grain bun for building a sandwich with your favorite lean meats, or any variety of better choice inspired specialties that celebrate your family’s favorite flavors, all five food groups offer deliciousness and nutrition that’s pretty much perfect all year. Choose multiple food groups every time you eat for a balanced menu.

  4. Pack a picnic. Road trips are a summertime tradition for many. Carry nutrition and flavor with you! Start with a cooler, ice packs, a thermometer, and hand sanitizer, then start thinking of your menu. Choose easy-to-transport, eat, and clean-up options, like sandwiches, salads, and cold entrees from meals made earlier in the week.  String cheese, washed/whole pieces of fruit, nuts, cereal/granola, pre-popped popcorn, yogurt, and cut veggies are all fun, balanced options that are easy to pack eat, and clean up on the go.

Enjoy all the better choices you can make this summer!  

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