Easy Nutritious Picnic Ideas for the Summer
There’s nothing better than a fun family picnic! Make the most of summer with these easy nutritious picnic ideas.
There is something about enjoying a delicious meal surrounded by nature that nourishes both body and soul! It’s a revitalizing experience to share with the whole family, especially when you pack delicious satisfying foods that everyone loves. As a mom of three and registered dietitian, I am no stranger to planning and packing nourishing picnics, and I’m here to help you do the same! Here is all you need to know about how to pack a satisfying, nutrient-packed and fun picnic that you and your kiddos will love!
How to pack a nutritious and delicious picnic
There are a few key pieces to the picnic puzzle, so to speak! Plan to bring foods that:
- Are easy to eat outside.
- Are portable. Foods that can be easily wrapped (so that kiddos can enjoy their own!) or separated into resealable Tupperware containers will be less cumbersome to serve, eat, and clean up!
- Will stand up to the journey of being transported in a cooler to your destination.
Nutritious picnic food ideas:
- Protein foods: rotisserie chicken, deli meats, hummus, cheeses, boiled eggs, jerky, nuts/seeds, chickpea salad, tuna/salmon salad, individual cheeses, individual yogurts etc.
- Vegetables and fruit: mini cucumbers, baby tomatoes, mini bell peppers, baby carrots, grapes, berries, apples, pears, nectarines, peaches, oranges, sliced watermelon, bananas, dried fruit etc.
- Grain and starch foods: wraps, bread, crackers, popcorn, pasta/ quinoa salad, potato salad, granola bars, muffins/loaves (try this delicious, high fibre Susgrainable banana bread mix!), homemade energy balls, etc.
- Foods your kids love/ “just because” foods: Oreos, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, chips, cheezies, candy etc.
- Pack enough fluids: pack extra water, especially if it’s hot outside. Insulted drink containers work great to keep cold drinks cool and warm foods like chilli or soup hot! Lemonade and fruit-infused water are always a hit for picnic hydration!
Using the ideas above, here’s an example of what could be in your next picnic basket: one-pot meals (such as cold Greek pasta salad, or chicken quinoa salad), sandwiches and wraps, or a variety of easy-to-pack charcuterie/antipasto platter options (such as deli meats and sausages, rotisserie chicken, crackers, bread, cheeses, hummus, chopped veggies, grapes, and berries etc.). Yum!
It can be easy to forget to bring all of the required cutlery, tools and tableware such as napkins/wipes, garbage/ recycle bags, hand sanitizer and drink containers. I suggest making a checklist of everything you will need for the picnic meal that you plan to pack and enjoy!
Tips to keep your picnic food fresh and safe to eat:
Travelling with food to an outdoor location may present some roadblocks when it comes to keeping food fresh and safe to eat. First, it starts with preparing and packing food properly to avoid food spoilage.
Make sure any hot food like chilli or soup is stored in an insulated container to keep the food hot for long enough. Surround all other foods in your cooler with enough ice packs to keep them cool until it's time to eat. This will help prevent bacteria from growing, so your family can avoid foodborne illness (that would be a downer!). Properly storing food will keep your packed items fresh and delicious, so everyone will enjoy themselves that much more!