Lots of colorful vegetables and herbs go into preparing a delicious Mediterranean meal.

How to Have a Healthy Picnic Mediterranean Style

There’s a reason so many cookbooks and diets focus on the Mediterranean diet – it’s one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, and one of the most delicious, too. Based on the traditional eating habits of people in Italy, Greece, Spain, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, this cuisine features fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, and lots of beans, legumes, and nuts, with a very small amount of meat.

Another reason for the health benefits of Mediterranean cuisine: The use of olive oil in place of butter in place of unhealthy saturated fats, and herbs and spices in place of salt.

Luckily, it’s not hard to learn how to cook Mediterranean food – join us for our June Virtual Thrive Kitchen class, and we’ll do it together! Even better, our menu will include foods that can be prepared in advance and served outdoors for the perfect summer picnic.

Thrive Kitchen classes have been virtual since 2020, and will return to in-person when safety allows. Classes are held one Wednesday a month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and are free for Kaiser Permanente members and $20 for non-members. We’ll have a 15-minute introduction, then dive into a “hands-on” cooking class where I’ll teach you how to put together a fabulous picnic that all ages will love. Classes feature take-home recipes, nutrition tips, and information about how to use herbs and spices for flavor.

Registration is now open; call (415) 833-3450 or email SFHealthEd@kp.org to secure your spot!

Registration is also open for our July class, which will be a new one, Fun with Fermentation.

To learn more about my cooking and my Thrive Kitchen classes, KP members can visit our Thrive Kitchen class page and you can also check my Facebook page, The Doctor’s Spicebox, where I announce upcoming events.

I share more recipes and healthy cooking ideas on my blog, Spicebox Travels and on Kaiser Permanente’s Food for Health blog, where you’ll find all the recipes you could  possibly need to create delicious and healthy meals.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.