6 steps to a free-from picnic

27 July 2015 by
First published: 25 July 2015

Don’t let your diet let you down in social situations this summer with our 6 steps to a free-from picnic. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten- or dairy-intolerant, make it work for you with a little forward planning.

1. Come prepared.

Don’t expect whoever is in charge of the food that day to have free-from options. They will generally try to accommodate the majority of guests, so if you’re a vegan or you have intolerances, bring your own dishes. Not only will it keep you happy, but you can also convince others that your diet is just as delicious as theirs (if not more so!).

2. Keep it simple.

When it comes to meal planning, Kristin of Will Travel for Vegan Food recommends keeping it simple. Veggie burgers are the easiest to prepare if you’re looking for something filling. You can also take avocado, grilled vegetables and houmous dips or vegan cheese for a cold meal; for something sweet, jam and almond butter sandwiches are also a winner.

3. Say goodbye to gluten.

Coeliacs will want to bring wheat loaf alternatives such as wholegrain rye or amaranth bread from a brand like Biona, oatcakes, rice cakes and other vegan crackers. For mains or desserts, almond-based tarts made out of smashed nuts and dates make a great gluten-free alternative to pastry crusts. ‘I love filling them with coconut milk, egg and loads of green seasonal vegetables,’ says Natasha Corrett, author of Honestly Healthy Cleanse.

4. Eat your greens.

Get your nutrients and vitamins with a big leafy green and veg ceviche salad bowl topped with flaxseed or chia seed to bulk it out and up your fibre and omega-3 intake. For dressing, low-salt pasta sauce is a better alternative to oil. ‘When you are preparing your dishes at home, throw in all your roasted veg, tofu, tempeh and some delicious nuts and seeds toasted in tamari,’ says Natasha.

5. Munch on healthy snacks.

Pack a bunch of handy snacks such as apples, bananas, and energy and protein bars such as Pulsin or Vega protein bars. If you want to be a bit more extaravagant with your dessert, bring Sweet and Sara Vegan marshmallows on vegan crackers for authentic American Smores. If you feel like baking, ‘a tray of gluten- and dairy-free lemon drizzle cake or vegan brownies’ is always a good bet, says Natasha.

6. Sip on low-cal tipples.

Swap the traditional bottle of wine for Kombucha, a fizzy lemonade that is naturally rich in good probiotics thanks to its fermented mushroom cultures, which improve digestion. Or take an Infruition bottle, which allows you to flavour your water, or green juices that you can make up the night before and fill your cooler with on the day of the picnic.