Pack a picnic lunch

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By Melanie Simon, ROHP, RNCP

There’s something about a nice long picnic on a beautiful summer day that is so peaceful and grounding. Whether it be the feeling of soaking in the sun while getting your dose of vitamin D or the feeling of grass on your feet while you are earthing – the practice of having your bare feet on the earth to soak up its beneficial negative ions – picnics are full of health benefits for the mind, body, and soul. It’s also important to prepare some delicious, healthy foods to bring along in order to create that perfect picnic. Here are a few recipes for some healthy inspiration.

Chickpea Detox Salad
• 1 can chickpeas, drained and
rinsed
• 1/2 english cucumber, chopped
• 1 red pepper, chopped
• ½ cup grape tomatoes, chopped
• 6 green olives, chopped
• 2 tbsp chives, chopped
• 3 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:
• juice of 1 lemon
• 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 tsp cumin
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1/4 tsp Himalayan or sea salt

Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and mix well. In a separate, larger bowl, combine all other ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and mix well. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least one hour so the flavours can mingle.
Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
• 3/4 cup apple sauce
• juice of 2 lemons
• zest from 1 lemon
• 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
• 1/4 cup rice milk
• 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
• 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 2 eggs or flax gel eggs
• 1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
• 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix eggs (or flax eggs), applesauce, lemon juice, lemon zest, coconut oil, milk, maple syrup and salt in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Fill lined muffin tins about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Raw Cacao Balls

• 1 1/2 cups almond meal
(ground almonds)
• 12 plump dates, pits removed
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup raw cacao
• 3 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
• 1/4 cup shredded coconut
(sulphite free)

Place almond meal, dates, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and raw cacao in a food processor and process until it becomes a paste. Transfer to a bowl. Add pumpkin seeds and mix by hand. Form small balls and then roll them into the shredded coconut. Place in the fridge for a few hours and enjoy!
The almonds can easily be switched up for other nuts if you have an allergy or intolerance to almonds. I have successfully made this with whole walnuts, but increased it to two cups.

Fruit kaBOBS
• strawberries
• watermelon
• cantaloupe
• pineapple
• grapes
• bamboo kabob sticks

Cut cantaloupe, watermelon and pineapple into bite-sized cubes. Cut strawberries in half. Assemble onto kabob sticks, along with grapes. Refrigerate until ready to consume.
Melanie Simon, ROHP, RNCP, is a Greater Sudbury-based mom and owner of Naturally Vibrant. She can be reached at naturallyvibrant@hotmail.com