Pack a quick and easy picnic with these healthy grab-and-go picnic foods! Spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the outdoors!
Picnic season is here and I am so excited! As soon as the temperature starts to warm up, almost all of our afternoons will be spent out of doors. I LOVE this time of year, and I love to pack a picnic and head out with my kids.
Yesterday was my husband’s day off and so we decided to take the day to head out “on an adventure”. I didn’t realize until we were on our way that it was also the first day of Spring!
We took our kids hiking at a favorite spot. This was our first hike of the season and we were all feeling it! Actually, this was my daughter’s first big hike in general since the last time we were there she was not quite two and rode in a framed backpack carrier most of the way.
It took a lot of encouraging, a lot of reminding that we can all do hard things, and a fair amount of telling the kids to stop whining and save their breath for the hike, but we all made it to the top.
We were the only ones there (homeschool and Monday-is-our-Saturday perks), so we had the view and the expanse to enjoy and explore by ourselves.
The kids picked out a nice spot (away from the edge) and I spread out the picnic fare. We refueled with clementines, hard boiled eggs, salami and cheese crackers, carrot sticks and ranch, and chips and salsa.
Life is too short to stay indoors…
Whether you are going for a day trip, a visit to a park in your town, or are just wanting to enjoy a picnic in your own backyard, packing a picnic can’t be an all-morning job.
I am getting better at packing a really fast picnic out of necessity. With homeschool in the morning, and a nap for the baby to be home for in the afternoon, those in between hours are limited and priceless. I want to squeeze as much park time in as possible, which means not spending a lot of time preparing lunch.
There are times when I will bake a batch of muffins on the weekend, or in the morning while I make breakfast. But, most often, my first choice for picnics are foods that can be put together in ten minutes or less.
I LOVE to use mason jars to pack our picnics. Short and squat mason jars make the perfect containers for dips and spreads. The screw-on lids ensure that the contents won’t spill or get water from a cooler in them. The plastic lids also often double as a small plate if needed. If I fill up a few mason jars with hummus, spreadable cheese, or salsa at the beginning of the week, then they will be ready whenever I need them to refill and go.
Small mason jars also make great containers for yogurt parfaits, homemade pudding cups, applesauce, and so on.
Many items on this list are foods that I buy at Costco. Once picnic season starts, I start buying more convenience foods because I know it will pay off in being able to pack healthy picnics and avoid fast food while we are out.
Our Costco has started carrying organic Triscuits, and they have been so great to have on hand for hummus, cheese, tuna salad, and more. Keeping a variety of fruit on hand that is easy to throw in your basket is another great time saver.
Generally, I aim for a variety of foods, making sure we have enough protein to feel full, and at least one or two fruits and vegetables.
I’d also love to hear what your favorite picnic foods are, because we could always use new ideas! Leave your favorites in the comments, and pin this list for future reference!
30 Healthy Grab and Go Picnic Foods
2. cheese slices
5. yogurt cups
6. apple slices
7. salsa & chips
8. carrot sticks
9. peanut butter & jelly sandwiches
11. tortilla roll-ups (with peanut butter & banana slices, or cream cheese & jam, or deli meat…)
13. dried fruit
14. pimento cheese
15. sweet pepper slices
16. popcorn (plain or peanut butter popcorn)
20. tuna salad*
23. Babybel cheese
24. peanut butter to dip
25. ranch to dip
27. pickle spears
28. cherry tomatoes
29. fruit & veggie pouch
*Our family’s favorite tuna salad:
Mix together a can of light chunk tuna packed in water with a scoop of mayonnaise, just enough to coat the tuna. Add equal parts raisins, chopped apples, and sliced almonds. Add chopped pickles to taste. Stir together and serve with crackers.
More Picnic Food Ideas:
If you have a few extra minutes, or want to prepare some picnic foods ahead of time, here are a few more great picnic foods:
I love to bring a hearty muffin along on picnics! They are kid-friendly, easy to pack, and give another easy serving of veggies. Carrot raisin muffins and chocolate zucchini muffins are two of our favorites. Nutty blueberry muffins are another protein-packed option.
4. Pasta salad
What is your favorite grab-and-go picnic food? How do you make it easier to go on picnics together?