It’s National Picnic Week and to help those unsure what to pack into their baskets, leading Nutritionist Rob Hobson has produced a guide to the best vitamin-rich foods that will be ideal for all the family.
In recent research carried out via OnePoll on behalf of Waitrose, picnics were rated in Brits top 3 ‘Summer Bucket List’ activities. It appears to be the simple pleasures in life we have missed over the last year!
But when it comes to picnic food, the UK is the leading nation that still tucks into unhealthy snacks when they venture outside. Recent research from the Zoe Covid Symptom App revealed that consumers are reaching for so-called ‘healthy’ labelled snacks such as lentil-based crisps, which are just as unhealthy as chocolate.
Fortunately, there are changes afoot, and Brits are beginning to make their health a higher priority. To help guide them, Ireland Mushroom Producers* have partnered with leading nutritionist Rob Hobson to reveal the best vitamin-rich foods to take with you on a picnic.
According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, 17% of adults lack potassium in their diet, which the body requires for fluid balance and maintaining healthy blood pressure. The same survey also shows that 36% of adults are not getting enough selenium in their diet, meaning they miss out on this powerful antioxidant that can offset the damage caused by excess free radicals that promote the ageing process.
Why you should be putting Mushrooms in the picnic basket
Mushrooms have soared in popularity and are one of the best vegetarian and vegan-friendly sources of B vitamins, selenium and potassium. In addition, they are super-versatile and can be incorporated into healthy wraps, salads and sandwiches. Amazingly, just four medium-sized Vitamin B12 enriched mushrooms will deliver 100% of your recommended intake.
The mushrooms have 100% of the amount of vitamin D an adult needs per 100g, and now, they also contain 30% of the recommended amount of Vitamin B6. So including mushrooms as a healthy option in your picnic basket is a perfect way to help maximise your nutrient intake.
Celebrity nutritionist Rob Hobson said, “With all good intentions, the typical picnic basket may not offer the healthiest of meal options as Brits turn to savoury snacks such as crisps, sausage rolls and scotch eggs”.
He added, “Summer picnics do not need to be an unhealthy affair as there are lots of tasty options offering an abundance of health-giving nutrients”.
Rob explains British and Irish mushrooms are the ideal, versatile ingredient to incorporate into a variety of picnic meals; from the button, closed cup, chestnut and portobello, there is a mushroom for every recipe and occasion.
He has also suggested some of the best vitamin-rich picnic offerings to pack in your picnic basket this summer. Here are Rob’s favourite five picnic foods that can help you to achieve a healthy balanced diet:
Mushrooms are hugely nutritious and easily be incorporated into picnic dishes such as frittatas, mushroom and new potato salad, mushroom and wild rice salad. Sliced raw mushrooms are also great in salads. Even leftovers are great for a picnic, such as egg fried rice with mushrooms and frozen peas.
These highly nutritious nuggets contain a good fibre source and nutrients, including B vitamins and selenium. There are many ways to enjoy an egg, but one of the simplest is boiled, which you can flavour with spices such as smoked paprika, celery salt or chilli powder.
All vegetables are good but red peppers but a rich source of the powerful antioxidant Vitamin C, which helps to protect the body from the damage caused by excess free radicals. Try serving with your favourite dips such as hummus or guacamole or add to salad which includes legumes rich in iron as Vitamin C helps with its absorption in the body (great for vegans).
Lean meats (turkey, chicken)
These foods are a rich source of protein and are great served with spicy sauces or salsa.
Salad vegetables (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes)
These foods offer a good source of fibre in the diet and are also a good source of B vitamins such as folate. These foods are also high in water which can help to keep you hydrated in the summer sun.
*About the UK and Ireland Mushroom Producers
The UK and Ireland Mushroom Producers is a partnership between key mushroom farmers across the UK and Ireland who are naturally enhancing mushrooms with the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D. Our passion for these sunny sponges drives our desire to educate the nation’s consumers on the health benefits of eating British and Irish mushrooms and in particular, those enriched with Vitamin D.
Read about more great ideas for picnics here.