Fat, fat, fat. That is what is hanging around my belly. A big roll of fat. It oozes over the tops of my jeans, peeking out from under any blouse that does not hang down well past my ample behind. My husband doesn’t have the same spare tire roll. Rather, he has the cuddly little paunch that goes before him announcing his arrival. Do we eat junk food? No. Are we lay-about, good-for-nothings who consume a bag of potato chips while watching yet one more movie? No. We eat healthy, take our vitamins and work out regularly. What, then, is our fat problem?

I am considering a new obesity study that has recently been reported in the media. It claims salt is the covert evil-doer thwarting all of our efforts to regain the svelte figures of our youth. I have to admit, I am a bit free with the seasoning as I cook and prepare our meals. More knowledge on this subject may solve the fat mystery for this couple.

Obesity has been linked with the amount of sodium a person consumes. For every gram (or about a quarter of a teaspoon) a person consumes every day, the chances for obesity rise about twenty-five percent. That’s an incredible risk jammed into one of those tiny little salt packages you get in your fast food sack as you leave the drive-thru window.  That little booger has the potential to alter the metabolism and the way the body absorbs fat.

My husband and I treat ourselves to fast food once a week. We particularly enjoy a certain burger place. Now, I know the burgers and fries are already laden with salt when they are prepared in the kitchen. Then, of course, we shake a bit more over our fries when we sit down to eat. By eating food laden with salt we increase our chances of becoming obese about one hundred fold every week.

Eating out weekly at a fast food place or a nice restaurant is part of the typical lifestyle nowadays. On average, men consume a bit more than 4,000 mg of sodium daily. The average woman checks in at about 3,000 mg. The majority of this sodium is consumed while eating out or dining in on prepared, packaged foods.

To get rid of my roll and my husband’s paunch, we may have to rethink our eating out ritual. Simply by eliminating this one weekly meal, we could cut our sodium intake in half. Perhaps a romantic, relaxing picnic of food prepared in our own kitchen, sodium free, is a winning solution. Living in a tropical climate, we can do this year round. With this in mind, I have gathered up a few picnic recipes and ideas.

Cup of Rainbow Salad

  • 3 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 sliced avocado
  • 1/2 cup diced purple onion
  • 2 cans drained tuna
  • 1 crumbled boiled egg
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 lemon juice

In clear cups layer the veggies and tuna. Top with avocado and crumbled egg. Combine garlic, olive oil and lemon juice together then drizzle over the salad.

Towering Sandwiches

  • Between multiple slices of bread that have roasted garlic hummus spread upon it, layer lettuce, turkey, red onion slices, tomato slices, bean sprouts, chopped Kalamata olives and crumbled feta.

Fruit Skewers with Yogurt Dip

  • Cube a variety of fruits and place them on skewers. Mix a tablespoon of honey into a cup of plain yogurt for a tasty dip.

With delicious recipes like these, what’s not to love about a picnic every week! We may get rid of my roll, his paunch and reignite some romance all at the same time. This plan sounds like a winner all the way ‘round.