To call the picnic a classic culinary activity would be something of an understatement. The history of the picnic is thought to trace all the way back to medieval hunting feasts in 14th-century England. Though there were no baskets or red-and-white checkered blankets to be found in the earliest versions of this tradition, one thing that's remained constant throughout the evolution of the picnic is the presence of food. Back then, this shared meal typically consisted of ham, baked meats and pastries, while the modern-day adaptation usually includes items such as fried chicken, potato salad, hamburgers, hot dogs and brownies.
Though it may be a delicious list, it's not necessarily a nutritious one. Many conventional picnic foods really pack a punch when it comes to calories, fat, salt and sugar. For example, just one piece of extra crispy fried chicken breast from Kentucky Fried Chicken packs 510 calories, 33 grams of fat, and 1250 milligrams of sodium. On the sodium front alone, that's half of the daily allowance recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
But you don't have to ditch the picnic all together to keep your waistline in check. Instead, try streamlining your picnic basket with the following ideas for healthier food alternatives, including appetizers, main dishes, sides, and yes, even desserts, too.