The Wellbeing Benefits of a Picnic

Did you know that July is National Picnic Month? A summer alfresco dining experience with a blanket and basket is a wonderful way of soaking up the sun and enjoying some dedicated time with family or friends. We’re letting you know why picnics aren’t just fun, but can also be great for your wellbeing. Plus, discover our delicious sausage roll recipe – ideal for popping in with your picnic treats.

Can a picnic boost your wellbeing?

Picnics are an immensely popular pastime, and the great news is that they’re fantastic for boosting your wellbeing, too. Here are just some of the ways.

Fresh air

After days cooped up indoors, when the sun comes out to play, a picnic is an ideal opportunity to breathe in some gorgeous fresh air. You could stay nearby at your local park, or even take a trip to the coast and have a picnic with sea air. No matter how you choose to enjoy it, you’ll be able to fill your lungs with the wonderful fresh air that only comes when surrounded by nature.

Fresh outdoor air has been shown to increase the amount of oxygen in your body which, in turn, helps to strengthen the white blood cells; boosting the immune system. And, as we all know, the immune system is crucial for fighting off any illnesses and infections. Fresh air has also been proven to help your digestive system, improve blood pressure, clean your lungs, give you more energy, and help you to feel happier overall.

Connections

Spending time with family and friends is always a wonderful opportunity to help strengthen the bonds that connect you. With life being so naturally busy and full, setting aside time to go out together for a picnic will give you some much needed time together. It’ll be quality time, too, as it’ll be without the usual indoor distractions of TV screens or housework waiting.

When you help foster strong relationships, it will naturally foster feelings of security, warmth, belonging and love. You’ll also be creating a network around you of people who really care and want to look after each other.

Vitamin D boost

We’d all probably agree that the UK isn’t known as a particularly sunny country, as such, many of us are deficient in Vitamin D. This vitamin is naturally produced when we spend time in the sunshine. It is essential in helping to regulate calcium and phosphorus in the body, and it plays an important role in bone structure and health.

Many medical professionals would recommend that people in countries like ours take additional Vitamin D3 supplements, and we can also boost our levels by getting out into the outdoors whenever the sun peaks from behind a cloud. What better way to do this than by enjoying a picnic with delicious food, good company and warm sunshine. Don’t forget to use some high-factor sun cream to protect your skin.

Healthy eating

Yes, of course, you could bring out the chocolates, crisps and less healthy options at a picnic, but in general, you’ll find that there’s a beautiful array of natural colours at a picnic. From carrot and cucumber sticks to grapes and strawberries, people will usually opt for a fantastic array of fruits and veggies at their picnic.

Why not try a ploughman’s lunch with your food choices? With the crunchy veg, boiled eggs, good quality ham, healthy fats from the cheeses, and wholemeal chunky bread; it’s a wonderfully delicious and healthy picnic choice. Are you a keen gardener? Perhaps you could bring along some tasty homemade veg sticks for everyone to try.

Keep active

If you’ve been trying to find ways to increase activity levels in your life, then regular picnics with family or friends are ideal! Whatever your fitness levels, you can find ways of stretching them a little whilst you’re out and about. Whether it’s simply walking to and from your picnic location and the car (which can be a lot further than you might have originally expected!) or even joining in with the games that often follow the meal, there’s plenty of activity to join in with.

Activities are a great way to extend family bonding time at a picnic. Set up a game of rounders or French cricket, kick a football around, bring along the traditional game of horseshoe/ring toss, or there’s always the easy game of hide and seek that requires no supplies at all.

So, next time the sun peeks out from the clouds, pack yourself a picnic, gather friends or family and enjoy some outdoor eating – your health and wellbeing will thank you!

Sausage roll recipe

When you’re getting your food prepped and ready for your delicious feast, why not whip up a batch of these amazing sausage rolls. It’s been provided by our Group Marketing Director and keen cook, Venessa. If you try it yourself, we’d love to see a picture – tag us on Facebook or Instagram with yours.

Ingredients


For the pastry:

  • 1 sleeve of readymade puff pastry (chilled)

 

For the filling

  • 225g high quality pork sausage meat
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dry sage (I’ll often add more!)
  • Salt and pepper mill (to taste)
  • 1 egg beaten
Sausage Roll Recipe

Method


Step 1

Finely chop the onion and place in a medium sized bowl

Step 2

Add sausage meat, plus the dried sage and a generous mill of salt and pepper. Mix together by hand to ensure all the ingredients are well combined

Step 3

Cut the roll of puff pastry into 2 even pieces, then roll out so the pastry is as thin as possible

Step 4

Divide the sausage meat mix into 2 even parts. Take the first part of the sausage meat and place in the centre of the first piece of pastry, then form into a long ‘sausage’ shape so that it spans the width of the pastry

Step 5

Sprinkle some more sage lightly over the pastry before rolling

Step 6

Take the beaten egg wash and lightly coat the end of the pastry closest to you. Now roll the pastry into one long sausage shape, ensuring the sealed edge is underneath

Step 7

Lightly egg wash the entire roll, including the underneath

Step 8

Cut the large roll into approximately 4 to 5cm pieces and then place on a baking try lined with grease proof paper

Step 9

Repeat with the remaining sausage meat and pastry

Step 10

Before placing in the oven, using a pair of kitchen scissors, place 2 small snips in the top of each sausage roll

Step 11

Bake in an oven for 20 to 25 mins at approx. 220c or gas mark 7. Once cooked remove from baking tray and place on a wire rack to cool

If you decide to go on a picnic using some of the ideas above then we’d love to see how it turns out. Tag us on Facebook or Instagram with your photos!

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