Every year, National Picnic Day falls on April 23rd. The best way to celebrate this special occasion is, of course, with a picnic. For those on a keto diet, however, picnics can bring about lots of stress. What exactly can a keto dieter bring on a picnic trip and that will taste great both cold and warm? Below you'll learn about what keto meal options are great for picnics and get some quick facts on what National picnic Day is all about.
Most people who celebrate this holiday do so with barbeque meals or simple sandwiches. Picnicking preferences, however, seem to differ among generations and geographies. According to a survey carried out by the National Today data science team, millennials like to celebrate National Picnic Day with sandwiches and other generations prefer fried chicken . The same team also found that the top five foods eaten on national picnic day are:
Furthermore, the top picnic spots in America are:
But what you eat and where you eat on this special day is really not as important as with whom you eat. Use this unofficial holiday as a perfect excuse to get in touch with friends and family and spend quality time outdoors. Plan to spend the day at the local park or a different local picnic area. And if the weather doesn't allow it, eating out is another great option.
Despite what you may have been told, celebrate National Picnic Day while following a keto diet is easy. As long as you keep carbs below 20 grams or a maximum of 50 grams (depending on how active you'll be that day), you won't be kicked out of ketosis. Replacing bread in, say, your tuna sandwich with some lettuce or going for baked wings instead of fried wings are good examples of how to prepare picnic food the keto way.
Besides food, celebrating National Picnic Day also requires planning how and where you'll be celebrating it. Although this unofficial holiday falls around mid-spring, it’s always a good idea to check your local weather before you make any plans. If it's going to be a sunny day, have a BBQ at the local park (if it doesn't go against any policy). If it's going to rain, locations that offer huts or have a stay at a friend's place if they have a porch. If all else fails, have an indoor picnic and don't let bad weather ruin your special get-together.
And as for choices of food, below are some delicious low-carb options to for you to consider on National Picnic Day.
Sandwiches are one of the most favored picnic options out there, especially in the US. If you're a fan of sandwiches yourself, replace the bread with lettuce wraps for a totally low carb sandwich experience. Keep in mind that it takes time to get used to bunless sandwiches and that the texture may feel off at first.
Sample idea: Chicken and cheese wraps
Make lettuce wraps with grilled chicken and cheese and topped with some mayonnaise and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and you’re good to go. You can make a variety of low-carb sandwiches this way using other types of meat (beef, turkey, and tuna) and low-carb vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados).
If you’re a fan of fried chicken wings, go for baked wings or replace breadcrumbs in fried wings with chopped nuts. One baked chicken wing provides 8g of protein and 0g net carbs. The carb content will increase to 2.5g in a 100g serving if you opt for fried wings covered in a faux bread crumb mixture made from chopped almonds, walnuts, and even almond flour. Depending on your recommended daily protein intake, your daily chicken wing allowance on keto is 5-20 wings.
Make a scrumptious seafood salad by mixing sour cream, mayonnaise, and lemon juice with a bit of seasoning of your liking and add cooked seafood items like shrimp and salmon to the mixture. Make sure to keep these ingredients (seafood, veggies, and sauces) in separate containers and mix the salad when you’re ready to eat to avoid ending up with a soggy salad.
Hard-boiled eggs added to leafy greens and low-carb veggies make for one of the quickest, easiest, and most nutritious meals to enjoy on National Picnic Day. Bring whole avocados with you to add additional fat and nutrition to your egg-based salads. Avocados tend to oxidize fairly quickly, so pre-adding them to your salad is not recommended.
For those who do not like the idea of replacing bread with lettuce wraps in sandwiches, then keto bread is a viable alternative. Making low-carb bread that has almost the same taste and texture of regular wheat bread is easy. One of the more popular methods is using coconut flour and psyllium husk powder and mixing it with eggs and baking soda to get a low-carb and gluten-free dough. Then you also have keto cloud bread that is largely egg-based. However, there are countless ways to make keto breads, and recipes are easy to find online.
Make some keto coffee (aka Bulletproof coffee) from freshly brewed coffee, butter or ghee, and MCT oil and pack it in a thermos to keep it hot. Enjoy your keto coffee with some homemade fat bombs. Fat bombs are delicious keto-friendly snacks that can help you hit your daily keto macros and keep cravings at bay. If you need some inspiration to make fat bombs this picnic season, here are some of our favorite fat bomb recipes.
Alternatively, you can enjoy keto coffee with delicious low-carb cakes. Low-carb cakes can be made with fewer than 5g net carbs in a single serving while providing plenty of fat and protein. Make the cakes a day ahead so you don't have to worry about being short of time come picnic time. Of course, it's a good idea to bring some extra slices to offer your friends and family.
Deviled eggs are tasty and nutritious but also incredibly easy to prepare. Simply scoop out the boiled yolks and mix it with some mayonnaise, sour cream, and your favorite seasoning. Use a muffin tray to layout and fill the eggs with the yolk mixture and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Make sure to store the eggs in plastic containers and be careful when carrying them around.
Check out our low-carb pie recipes to see if there's a recipe you'd like to enjoy this National Picnic Day. Homemade keto pies served with keto coffee is a great way to make this picnic season all the more festive.
A low-carb cheese platter should include some cheese, berries, and nuts. Other than that, olives, cured meat, and some pickled cucumbers are great options. If you're a big wine connoisseur, a glass or two of low-carb dry wine is ok to enjoy on this special day. Make sure you're not the designated driver on this day, though.
By replacing high-carb food with low-carb alternatives, any keto dieter can enjoy National Picnic Day without giving carbs a second thought. If the weather is nice and you have friends and family you'd like to spend more time with, then use this quirky holiday as a reason to get together and go outside. National Picnic Day, while not an official holiday, is a reason to enjoy some quality food and quality time with loved ones.