With the weather warming up, we should take advantage of the short summer we have in Montreal. The best spots to enjoy it are right here in our own neighborhood and the best way to enjoy it is to relax in a park, having a picnic with friends and family. That said I’m bringing you the top 7 healthy foods to bring to a picnic and some of the places to go!

  1. Fattoush salad at Pine beach Park Dorval

Spruce up your regular lettuce salad with different herbs and spices, like in this Middle-Eastern fattoush salad. Combine 1 head romaine lettuce (torn into bite size pieces), 2 large tomatoes (diced), 1 medium cucumber (diced), 2 radishes (sliced), 4 scallions (chopped), 1 green bell pepper (diced), ¼ cup parsley, and ¼ cup mint. Dress it with 2 teaspoons sumac (lemony spice found in Middle Eastern grocery stores), 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 clove garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish the salad with 4 pita breads, toasted, and torn into pieces.

fattoush park

  1. Hummus and veggies at Parc anse a l’orme

Buy prepared hummus or make your own and serve it with raw veggies or baked pita chips!

  1. Mango salsa with tortilla chips at Centennial Park in Beaconsfield

This recipe is so refreshing, which makes it perfect for a hot summer day. Combine 2 cups chopped pitted peeled mango, 1 cup chopped red bell pepper, 2/3 cup chopped green onions, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 4 teaspoons olive oil. Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. 

  1. Rice salad with dried cranberries at Bois de Liesse Park

Combine 4 cups cooked brown rice with ⅓ cup slivered almonds, ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint leaves, ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, ⅓ cup dried cranberries, and ⅓ cup thinly sliced Kalamata olives. Dress the salad with ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Salt and pepper to taste. This keeps well on warm days.

  1. Chicken pesto wrap at Terra Cotta Park

No need to make a complicated main dish. This wrap takes 2 minutes to put together. Spread 1 tablespoon of basil pesto on a tortilla bread. Fill sandwich with 3 oz grilled or roasted chicken breast and 2 tbsp roasted red peppers, chopped. It’s that easy!

chicken sandwich

  1. Cheese and fruit at Centennial Park DDO

Again, this snack/dessert is very simple to prepare as all you need to do is cut your fruit and cheese in bite sized pieces. Having your fruit in small pieces avoids the juicy mess you would have biting into a whole piece of fruit.

  1. Ginger iced tea at Pointe-Claire Village Park

In a large pot, combine 1 small piece of ginger (peeled and chopped), 4 bags of black tea, and 8 cups boiling water. Let steep 8 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a large container; discard solids. Stir in 2 tbsp honey. Let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Serve over ice.

Remember to keep all your foods cool by placing frozen water bottles in your cooler. This way you’ll stay hydrated as well! Bon appétit!

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