Picnics are year-round occurrences in Hawaii, but never more welcome than during the hot summer months.
Slim down picnic fare
Picnicking is popular for several reasons. It allows you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with family and friends. Generally, less preparation and cleanup are required. And, picnics provide an opportunity to enjoy our fabulous parks and beaches.
The food often tastes so fantastically good at picnics that it's easy to overindulge. One way to keep calories and dietary fat in check is to carefully choose your side dishes.
While macaroni and potato salads are local favorites, they are also traditionally high in fat and calories. A one-half cup serving of a mayonnaise-based potato or macaroni salad can contain more than 300 calories and more than 25 grams of fat. Just a tablespoon of mayonnaise alone has approximately 100 calories and 11 grams of fat.
Don't despair. You don't have to give up your potato-mac salads. You can choose to eat smaller-sized servings of these side dishes, or prepare them at home with a reduced-fat mayonnaise. Another way to consume less total fat and calories at mealtime is to eat a wide variety of foods, like the lowfat Curried Long Beans and Pineapple Rice Salad you will find below.
If you're looking for a great picnic venue as well as a midweek respite, check out AT&T's "Wildest Show in Town" at the Honolulu Zoo.
Every Wednesday during June, July and August, from 6 to 7 p.m., you can enjoy live music while relaxing on the zoo's stage lawn. Tonight's entertainment features contemporary Hawaiian music by Palolo. Gates open at 4:35 p.m. A donation of $1 per person will benefit the zoo flamingos. For more information, call 531-0101.
Boil onions 10 minutes and then cook green beans until barely done. Pour off water.
CURRIED LONG BEANS2 pounds long beans
1 pound sliced onions
2-1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons curry powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
2-1/2 cups vinegar
2-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
Mix together the sugar, curry powder, salt, and turmeric and add this to the long bean-onion mixture after draining.
Meanwhile mix 1 cup vinegar into cornstarch, boil for 10 minutes and mix in remaining vinegar.
Pour hot vinegar mixture into long bean mixture vinegar.
Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold. Makes 8 cups
Approximate nutritional analysis, per 1/2 cup: 90 calories, 0 g total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, 200 mg sodium
Remove the skin and seeds of the tomato and chop it. Blanch green pepper in boiling water for one minute. Remove seeds and cut pepper into thin strips.
PINEAPPLE RICE SALAD8 cups cooked white or brown rice
1 large firm plum tomato
1 large green pepper
1 can (15-oz) crushed pineapple in heavy syrup
Lettuce leaves (optional)
Mix all of the ingredients with slightly cooled rice. Serve plain or on lettuce leaves. Makes about 8 cups
Approximate nutritional analysis per 1/2 cup: 150 calories, 0.5 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, less than 10 mg sodium
Barbara Burke is a Hawaii-Pacific University instructor who has been teaching
and writing about food and nutrition since 1975.
Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S., is a food and nutrition consultant
and owner of Exploring New Concepts, a nutritional consulting firm.
She is also responsible for the nutritional analyses
indicated by an asterisk in this section.