Warm days, warm nights, late sunsets, and plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors. One of our favorite ways to enjoy summer is to take advantage of the wonderful weather with a picnic. Gather your friends, family, and pets and head outside to enjoy a meal together. Read below for some picnic tips and summer superfood suggestions for your next picnic adventure.
**Since food packed for a picnic will be without proper refrigeration for a few hours – choose foods and recipes that do well in the heat and won’t spoil. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the fun, but it’s important to keep our friends and family healthy. For some extra tips check out our Safe Summer Sizzles June blog post.
- It may be a little hot to turn on the oven, but veggie chips make a great addition to any picnic. Roast thin slices of seasonal zucchini, squash, carrots, or beets with a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning until crispy. Make some fresh guacamole to take these chips to the next level.
- Looking for a cool and refreshing summer meal? Fill up a salad with fresh summer greens and a mix of colorful vegetables. Get fancy and spirilize zucchini, carrots, or squash for a “noodle” salad.
- For a sweet snack loaded with vitamins and minerals, chop and mix your favorite seasonal fruits into a fruit salad. Cherries, cantaloupe, mangos, honeydew, blueberries, and plums will create a beautiful rainbow fruit salad! Sprinkle with a little bit of lemon or lime juice to keep the fruit fresh and to add a burst of citrus flavor.
- Finely chop fruit like apples or peaches and sprinkle with cinnamon and citrus to create your very own fruit salsa. Serve with sugar cookies, rice cakes, or pita chips.
- Plant proteins like beans, tofu, nuts, and seeds hold up well in the heat and are great sources of heart healthy fats. Mix these protein packed items into salads, grains, or pasta. Include seasonal produce like bell peppers, cucumbers, corn, and tomatoes. Make your own trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, mash beans into creamy dip, and add tofu to cold sesame noodles for yummy picnic options.
- Some cheeses are better suited for a picnic than others. Firm, low moisture cheeses like cheddar or parmesan are good choices to bring to your outdoor meal. Make a cheese plate with summer fruits like berries, apples, cherries, and peaches, nuts, and crackers, or grate cheese over pasta and salads. Cheese also supplies calcium and vitamin D.
- Whole grains like quinoa, farro, brown rice, or freekeh, once cooked, are easy to pack and take on the go. Combine your favorite grain with some summer vegetables like green beans, eggplant, or zucchini, and a tasty sauce or dressing for a quick and easy picnic friendly dish.
- Pasta salads and picnics make a perfect pair. These cold salads make it easy to get creative and add in whatever veggies you have around. Use whole grain pasta for some extra fiber. Or, try bean pastas like chickpea or lentils for added protein.
- Transportation is the biggest issue for picnics – nobody wants a squished dessert at the end of a yummy meal. One tip is to use a jar. Create individual desserts and layer them up with yogurt, fruit, whipped cream, cake, or brownies. Put a lid on, and you’re ready to go.
- Fruit cobblers are simple yet tasty. They can be made with any fruit, which makes them naturally sweet. Utilize your favorite summer fruits and top with an oat crumble and some nuts for a crunch.
- All year round, but especially during the hot summer months, hydration is extremely important. Picnics tend to be centered around food, but don’t forget the beverages! Keep yourself cool with fresh lemonade, iced tea, seltzer, or just plain old water.
- Make water exciting by adding fresh fruit for added flavor. Let lemons, limes, pineapple, or even cucumbers soak in water and let the flavors seep in.
Make sure you’re ready for your next picnic by having these items on hand:
- Picnic basket
- Picnic blanket
- Cooler (and ice!)
- Trash bags
- Outdoor activities