Make Your Summer a Picnic
By Melissa Diane Smith
Gluten-free options abound for carefree outings. Here's how to pack the perfect al fresco lunch.

One of the special joys of warm weather is eating outdoors. Whether you grab a brown-bag lunch by yourself, have a family gathering at a picnic table, or enjoy a spread of elegant food for two on a blanket, make this time of year a gluten-free picnic. Try these tips:

Prepare sandwiches or wraps for impromptu picnics.
If you don’t have much time, use gluten-free bread (e.g., Food for Life Bhutanese Red Rice Bread) or organic corn tortillas with gluten-free fillings (nut butter or Applegate Farms lunch meats) to make nut butter, turkey, roast beef, or ham and cheese sandwiches in a jiffy. Throw in a pack of celery or carrot sticks, an apple, and a gluten-free, date-based fruit-and-nut bar (such as a Larabar or a Think Organic! bar) for a brown bag full of satisfying food that you can put together in 10 minutes or less.

Use salads as main dishes, side dishes, or desserts.
When you have more time to plan, put on your thinking cap and get creative with salads and foods that can be carried in a cooler. For side salads, try potato salad, quinoa-based tabbouleh, or assorted veggies marinated in gluten-free vinaigrette dressing. For main-dish salads, make green salads with lettuce, assorted vegetables, and chilled cooked steak, chicken, or fish. Bring a gluten-free salad dressing in a container to pour on at the last minute. Or create main-dish pasta salads with meat or shrimp, ingredients such as chopped olives, hearts of palm, or artichoke hearts, and gluten-free rice pasta or Sea Tangle kelp noodles. For dessert, make colorful, assorted fruit salads, such as blueberries, raspberries, and sliced strawberries; sliced nectarines and pitted, halved Bing cherries; or fresh pineapple cubes topped with shredded coconut.

Put together a spread of finger food.
Picnics don’t have to be elaborate. Sometimes the most fun of all is nibbling on assorted finger food in between good conversation or breaks from throwing a Frisbee or football back and forth. Bring guacamole, salsa, or hummus with organic blue corn chips, Mexican-, Italian- or Greek-style flax crackers, assorted raw veggie sticks, and chilled cooked tail-on shrimp. Other foods to nosh on: gluten-free cold cuts or slices of cheese, garlic-stuffed olives. bags of almonds or Macadamia nuts, red or green grapes, Pamela’s Gourmet Cookies, trail mixes, such as Enjoy Life Foods Not Nuts Beach Bash (a collection of seeds and sulfite-free dried fruits).

Use your meat leftovers.
Slices of cold pot-roast meat, roast chicken, or roast turkey breast meat all work nicely at picnics. So bring cold cooked meat kebab cubes or fajita strips. You can also combine leftover cooked chicken, turkey, or fish with chopped celery, onion, and gluten-free mayonnaise (e.g., Spectrum Naturals Organic Olive Oil Mayonnaise) to make chicken, turkey, or fish salad. Then use the salad as a filling inside sandwiches or on top of lettuce.




Nana’s No’s Cookie Bars

What’s better for you than a cookie, yummier than a candy bar, and makes a perfect snack anytime? Look no further than Nana’s Cookie Company nana’s No’s No Gluten Cookie Bars. They’re made with no eggs, no dairy, no refined sugar, no GMOs, no cholesterol, no cane or beet products, no trans fat—and best of all—no gluten. Sweetened with fruit juice, these convenient, individually wrapped cookie bars come five to a box and are perfect to take along on a hike, to the beach, to your gluten-free picnic, or anywhere your summer fun takes you. Choose from Berry Vanilla, Chocolate Munch, or Nana Banana.

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