July is National Picnic Month and our produce of the month is watermelon! Since both go so well together, I wanted to provide a variety of different ways you can add watermelon to a perfect picnic meal (or even the upcoming holiday)! I have included some of my personal favorite recipes, as well as some delicious recipes from the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB). In addition, I have provided some tips on ways to enhance your picnicking experience this summer, even if it’s from your own backyard!
Also, keep in mind that if you are hanging around our Tampa campus this summer, you can always put together a “quick-stop” picnic by utilizing our operating convenience store, Bulls Xpress located in Argos Exchange. Grab your blanket, make a stop at the store to get your favorite snacks, and find an open area to enjoy a perfect, little summer picnic!
Recipes featuring Watermelon
Appetizer – Jalapeno Watermelon Salsa
Entree – Watermelon “BLT” – NWPB
Side – Watermelon Feta Salad
Dessert – Watermelon & Chocolate Dessert Board – NWPB
Beverage – Watermelon Lemonade
*For more recipes featuring watermelon, check out the Produce of the Month page and click on ‘July’!
Tips for a Successful Picnic
- Prepare for Summer Heat
Don’t forget to bring some ice cold water, sunscreen, and sunglasses to the picnic, even if it’s in your backyard. Preparing your body for the picnic will help you relax and enjoy what you really came for… the food! This is especially important if you aren’t having the picnic in your backyard. The last thing you want is to be thirsty and sunburnt while trying to enjoy delicious food and scenery.
- Keep the Food Safe
Make sure you bring the food in proper storage so that it stays cool or warm enough to avoid food-borne illness! This is especially important if you plan to hang out for at least 4 hours! If you are doing a “quick-stop” picnic or know you will be eating right away, this won’t be as big of a concern for you! If you are unsure, be safe and bring storage containers or a cooler with you just to be safe.
- Bring Easy-To-Eat Food
I always strive to bring a variety of food to a picnic, but more importantly, I aim for recipes that are easy to transport and won’t be messy. This is why I provided mostly finger foods in the above recipes featuring watermelon. In my experience, finger foods are a great option for anyone enjoying a picnic meal! Sometimes bringing hot entrees or messy dishes adds unnecessary stress, mess, and bugs to the situation. Try taking one of the suggested watermelon recipes for your upcoming picnic. You won’t regret it!
- Make the Eating Experience Enjoyable
Enjoy nature and be present during this eating experience! Don’t worry if a recipe didn’t turn out the way you expected or it isn’t as sunny as you thought it would be. Picnics are such a fun way to have a social and satisfying eating experience. To help get more satisfaction out of your meals, remember to savor and appreciate your food, leave distractions behind (this decreases attention and overall satisfaction), taste and savor each bite, and feel your fullness (food isn’t as satisfying once you are past fullness).
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you are looking to find more satisfaction in eating or are just interested in general nutrition advice! Remember, I am available to all USF Dining meal plan holders, free of charge.