Here at Active Nation, we wholeheartedly recommend spending as much time outdoors as possible this summer so that you can reap the vitamin-D and mood boosting rewards that the summer sunshine will bring – just don’t forget your sunnies, water and sun cream!
The week of the 15th-24th this month is National Picnic Week! Active Nation love a good picnic and this classic British summertime tradition provides a great opportunity to venture into the great outdoors and enjoy some healthy eating. So, read on to discover some delicious healthy picnic food recipes and learn why combining a picnic with a summer-time stroll will do heaps of good for your health.
Benefits of walking outdoors
Walking shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s low intensity, easy on the joints, and free! Importantly, walking has huge health benefits, including reducing your chances of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis pain, high blood pressure, and can increase lung capacity and strengthen muscles and bones. Not to mention, a two-hour stroll through the countryside can burn between 500-1000 calories, depending on your weight, pace, and the terrain.
Direct exposure to sunlight also boosts your vitamin D levels. The sunshine vitamin helps to regulate insulin levels and aid diabetes management, contributes to a healthy immune system, bones and teeth, as well as aiding the functioning of the brain and nervous system. So, what are you waiting for? Whether you’re walking or eating – get outdoors!
Walking outdoors can also hugely benefit your mental wellbeing. There is a reason why the advice “walk it off” is given when someone is stressed. Researchers at the University of Michigan studied participants taking regular walks in nature, with findings suggesting that walking outdoors can greatly improve mental health and wellbeing, and decrease depression and stress levels. What’s more, walking can even boost creative thinking!
Healthy picnic foods
Halloumi and falafel wraps
· Spread hummus over wraps
· Fry and add sliced halloumi
· Add falafels
· Add sliced red pepper
· Add spinach or salad leaves of choice
· Mix dressing of choice with bowl of mixed salad leaves
· Add chopped baby tomatoes
· Add chopped avocado
· Add finely chopped raw spring onions
· Add any other fresh veg that you fancy!
We recommend making salad dressings yourself – they are super cheap and easy, as well as being much healthier when home-made!
· Boil the potatoes
· Mix with mayonnaise and salad cream
· Add raw, chopped spring onion
· Add halved baby tomatoes
· Grind pepper over
· Add any other vegetables, dressings, or fresh herbs that you fancy!
· Cook green veg, onions and garlic for 5 mins (not fully cooking them)
· Mix 300ml of milk, 25g plain flour, and 2 beaten eggs together.
· Pour mix into pan and stir over a low heat until mix begins to thicken.
· Add mix into pastry then scatter chosen veg (and any other ingredients, i.e. cheese).
· Bake for 40mins at roughly 180C.
So what are you waiting for? Make the most of the summer weather; take a stroll and dine al fresco!