Valentine’s day…it is that time of year again. You can’t simply pick up some milk and bread at the local supermarket now without encountering swarms of roses, chocolate, teddy bears, cliché cards, and all things heart-shaped! Whether you’re a hopeless romantic and are counting down to February 14th, or absolutely despise the day…it is something we cannot seem to avoid these days.
Why a picnic?
I think picnics are always a great time, no matter what day it is. Here is a few reasons why they’re a great option for valentine’s day:
- They usually have a nice quiet atmosphere. Your picnic location might be by the beach, a park, the lake, or a cosy lounge room. Regardless of your location, a picnic will be much quieter than a crowded restaurant or movie theatre.
- They don’t cost a fortune like many of the “romantic set-menu for 2” type restaurants.
- If you can’t find a sitter, or simply want a family valentine’s day (it is a day of love, after all) then picnics are an awesome option.
- They can be low FODMAP! It is often hard finding a menu which has some decent low FODMAP options, so why not plan a tasty low FODMAP picnic instead!?
What you may need
Generally the picnic basics include a rug, cutlery, cups, plates, napkins, and an esky or basket for storing the goodies. Paper/plastic utensils and plates are a great option as they are cheap and can be disposed of after = no washing up! The food options are endless, but if you or your loved one have IBS and follow a low FODMAP diet, then some caution needs to be taken. I believe the core food components that make up a good picnic are nibbles/starters, main, beverages, and something sweet to finish.
- A cheese plate! Most cheese is low FODMAP and some tasty options are brie, vintage cheddar, gouda and stilton. Some good low FODMAP additions to the plate include gluten-free plain rice crackers, fresh grapes and strawberries, quince paste (<1 tablespoon), roasted capsicum, and olives.
- Prawns and oysters with fresh lemon
- Curried eggs – simply peel boiled eggs, cut them in half, and top with combined whole-egg mayonnaise and curry powder to taste.
- Packaged snacks such as mixed nuts, plain potato chips (crisps) and air-popped plain popcorn
- Low FODMAP dip such as spinach or roasted pumpkin and walnut, paired with veggie sticks (like carrot, capsicum and cucumber).
Ideas for Mains
- Wraps, sandwiches, or rolls. Use gluten-free wraps, mountain bread, gluten-free rolls or gluten-free bread as the base. For a protein option choose boiled eggs, roast chicken, shaved ham or roast beef. Add on salad veg such as grated carrot, sliced cucumber, baby spinach/lettuce, and tomato. Then finish with a desired condiment such as mustard, mayonnaise or relish (<1 ½ tablespoon).
- A tasty salad! A great combo is baby spinach, cherry tomato, shredded BBQ chicken, quinoa or brown rice, roast pumpkin, chopped basil, crumbled feta, roasted walnuts or pine nuts + drizzled with a red wine vinaigrette ( ½ red wine vinegar + ½ olive oil).
- Sushi – great for something you can grab on the go. Although be careful not to buy sushi which is crumbed or fried (tempura) as it contains wheat.
- Grilled fish and chips – another great option for on the go. Just make sure the fish is not marinated and that the chips are gluten-free (as some contain wheat). Then serve with salad and fresh lemon for a delicious meal.
- Sparkling wine or a sauvignon blanc. Can buy piccolo bottles which are good for picnics.
- Most other alcoholic beverages are low FODMAP, just avoid rum and sticky/dessert wine. Alcohol can be a gut irritant, so stick to 1-2 drinks.
- Most soft drinks are low FODMAP, except for diet soft-drinks as they are high FODMAP. For a healthier option add some lemon/lime slices and fresh strawberries/raspberries to soda water.
Options for a sweet finish
- Fresh strawberries drizzled with dark chocolate. Can also add some crushed nuts such as walnuts, macadamias, or pecans.
- Fruit platter/fruit salad. Choose low FODMAP fresh fruits such as grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, banana, rockmelon, kiwi, paw paw, passionfruit, and pineapple. Flavoured lactose-free yoghurt is great for dipping fruit in!
- Rice cakes topped with peanut butter and sliced banana
- Make a low FODMAP dessert such as our dark chocolate mousse-cake
Happy valentine’s day!
Remember, this day is not exclusive to romantic-relationships. It is a day of love so spend it with family members, partners or friends! It can be enjoyed by everyone, and what better way to do so than a delightful low FODMAP picnic!
By Amanda Gaukroger
Picture sourced from Pintrest