4 Tips for Perfect Picnics

Nutrition Advice from Your Pawling Hannaford Dietitian

Whether it’s catching a concert or making the most of your child’s summer travel team that has you on the field for hours, packing a perfect picnic turns an outdoor event into something more. With a bit of planning and consideration, your flavorful “field friendly” meal can be complete with balanced nutrition and rival any meal you prepare and enjoy at home. Here are four tips to get you started:

Tip #1: Grill Ahead of Time.

Once you fire up the grill, think beyond today’s meal and plan for the days ahead. For example, grill extra vegetables and chicken to use in wraps, salads, and more. Try using different marinades and rubs so that you have a variety of flavors to work with.

Tip #2: Jars Are Still “In.”

And they are still very convenient. With layers of protein (maybe some of that grilled chicken, tuna, or another healthy alternative), beans and veggies, you can build a balanced option that’s easy to enjoy on the go. Try making the bottom layer your protein and marinate in olive oil and seasonings. Then give a good shake, and it becomes your salad dressing too.

Tip #3: Spin by Hannaford.

If you didn’t have time to grill and are short on ingredients, drop by Hannaford Supermarket for pre-cut fruits and vegetables (prepared on site), fresh baked bread, a variety of cheeses and more. Visit the seafood counter for shrimp cocktail and our deli for our Nature’s Place All Natural (nitrate free) meats. Ask for a thick slice of turkey breast at the deli counter and cube it over greens or add to any salad.

Tip #4: Fill Containers.

If you have diced veggies, fruit, and more perfectly portable options ready to go, you’ll be able to pull together a picnic in minutes. If you are meeting up with a crowd, it’s also the easiest way to satisfy a variety of tastes. If possible, take this a step further by filling some of those containers with cold grain (e.g., quinoa, barley or bulgur) salads.

As your local Hannaford Dietitian, I’m pleased to be sharing my advice and simple tips. Please visit www.hannaford.com/dietitians for my in-store schedule of classes, demonstrations, and store tours or call (845) 855-0553 for more information.


This chicken salad makes use of rotisserie chicken to come together quickly, while the endive makes for a beautiful (yet portable!) presentation. Visit www.guidingstars.com for more recipes and information about the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program.

Endive Boats with Mango Chicken Salad (1 Guiding Star)


1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise with olive oil

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. Italian parsley, fresh chopped

1 tsp. tarragon, fresh chopped (optional)

salt and black pepper, to taste

1 large mango, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced, divided

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

3 celery stalks, thinly sliced

4 green onions, thinly sliced

3 large fresh endives, leaves separated

1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted


Dressing: In a medium size bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine mango (reserving some for garnish), chicken, celery, and green onion. (Reserve 1 tablespoon green onion for garnish.)

Pour dressing over mixture and toss to coat. Fill endive leaves and garnish with reserved mango, green onion and toasted nuts.