There’s really no better way to enjoy the beauty of nature and sunshine than by setting up a picnic with friends and family. A picnic offers the perfect opportunity to nourish both body and soul, and there are so many healthy picnic food ideas to choose from that will leave you feeling fulfilled and energized.
In a world that increasingly emphasizes the importance of wellness, we are reminded that our choices matter – even when it comes to our picnic menus. So, pack your basket, grab your blanket and choose from these healthy picnic food ideas, which are all loaded in nutrients and brain-boosting, feel-good ingredients.
Top 21 Healthy Picnic Food Ideas
1. Vegetable Crudités with Hummus
Perhaps the most straightforward way to bring healthy foods to a picnic is raw vegetables and hummus. This is easy to transport and doesn’t require any extra plates or utensils.
Go for a range of colors when choosing your vegetables, and try making your own hummus, which is rich in protein, fiber and antioxidants. This Classic Hummus Recipe is a good place to start.
2. Cucumber and Avocado Sushi Rolls
If you really want to elevate your picnic, show up with homemade sushi rolls that are made with healthy ingredients like nori seaweed, avocado and cucumber. If you’re on a low-carbohydrate diet, go for cauliflower rice, and use liquid aminos for dipping.
3. Trail Mix
Nuts are full of healthy fats, protein and antioxidants. Plus, they are filling and make for the perfect picnic snack. Try this Antioxidant Trail Mix recipe that includes almonds, pecans, raisins, dark chocolate and dried apple slices.
4. Brown Rice Cakes With Nut Butter
Rice cakes are a gluten-free snack that can be used for spreading nut butter or dipping. There are many types of rice cakes out there, so look for an organic brown rice option that also includes whole grains and seeds for additional nutrients.
5. Kale Chips
Everyone loves snacking on crunchy chips during a picnic, but it’s usually not considered a healthy option. Kale chips, however, are loaded in vitamins and minerals, help fight inflammation and aid detoxification.
Plus, there are ways to make them delicious. Try this Spicy Kale Chips recipe that includes Indian spices like garam masala, cumin and cardamom.
6. Seven-Layer Bean Dip with Baked Tortilla Chips
Make your own 7-Layer Bean Dip at home, and it’ll be a hit at any picnic. Although the standard dip at the grocery store isn’t typically considered healthy, there is a way to boost the nutrition profile of your dip while reducing trans fats and salt. Opt for a layer of chopped peppers and onions, use organic black beans, and swap out sour cream for goat yogurt.
For dipping, go for baked tortilla chips, sliced vegetables, zucchini chips or any other healthy chip you enjoy.
7. Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is a healthy and filling base to a salad that’s loaded with micronutrients like manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and folate, and it provides all 20 amino acids.
8. Caprese Skewers with Cherry Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil
When you’re picnicking, sometimes it’s easiest to bring salad on a stick. Healthy ingredients from the Mediterranean diet make for a great skewer salad on the go.
An easy combination is cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls and basil, with a balsamic dipping sauce on the side. You can also add a protein, like grilled chicken.
9. Cobb Salad
On first thought, you may not consider Cobb salad a healthy option, but when using healthy, nutrient-rich ingredients, it’s a great option for a picnic — or anytime. Try this Cobb Salad Recipe with Avocado Dressing that’s made with beef bacon instead of pork bacon, along with smoked salmon, chickpeas, boiled eggs and goat cheese.
10. Watermelon Feta Salad
Watermelon is a summertime staple that’s not only hydrating, but provides vitamin C and vitamin A, which help with exercise recovery and skin health — two things you may need while enjoying an active day outdoors.
Try this Watermelon Feta Salad recipe that’s made with goat feta, pistachios, arugula and kale.
11. Macaroni Salad
Macaroni salad is a tasty, filling and easy dish to eat outdoors, and it can be healthy, too. There are many healthy pasta options out there, including brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta and chickpea pasta. These offer a boost of protein and fiber, while sustaining your energy levels.
Try this Italian-Inspired Macaroni Salad Recipe that’s made with brown rice pasta, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls and pesto.
Sandwiches, Wraps, Rolls
12. Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
Chicken salad is a protein-rich meal that’s perfect for warm-weather days. You can make it with a high-quality mayonnaise or even Greek yogurt. Make a sandwich with sourdough bread, or use lettuce wraps.
13. Greek Pita Pocket
Greek chicken souvlaki has a ton of flavor and comes with a good amount of B vitamins, protein, phosphorus and zinc. Use it on a whole wheat pita stuffed with feta cheese, diced tomatoes, cucumbers and a drizzle of tzatziki sauce.
14. Egg Salad Sandwich
The classic egg salad sandwich never disappoints and reminds you of childhood picnics, too. Plus, eggs have several health benefits, such as boosting heart health, aiding weight loss and promoting brain function.
Use this Egg Salad recipe, which is made with celery, pecans, onion, dill and parsley. You can use a high-quality bread, like fresh sourdough, or lettuce wraps.
15. Thai Spring Rolls
Spring rolls are easy to transport and eat with your hands, and when made with healthy ingredients like sliced peppers, carrots, cucumbers and lean meat, they are loaded with nutrients. Try this Thai Spring Roll recipe. The rolls can be prepped ahead of time and brought to a picnic in a container.
16. Fresh Fruit Salad
Summer fruits provide a range of micronutrients, including vitamins C, A and K; B vitamins; magnesium; and potassium. Plus you get fiber and health-promoting antioxidants, while satisfying your sweet tooth.
Some great fruits to add in are cantaloupe, kiwi, watermelon, mango, pineapple, berries, plums and peaches.
17. Energy Balls
Energy balls are the perfect sweet snack on the go, and they are loaded with flavor. They provide healthy fats, protein, fiber and iron and don’t require any baking at all.
It’s also easy to prepare multiple flavors, coating the energy balls with shredded coconut, cacao powder, shopped nuts and more. Check out this Energy Balls recipe to get started.
18. Healthy Mini Muffins
Muffins are an excellent sweet treat for an outdoor setting because they transport easily and come in individual portions. Using healthy ingredients like almond flour, fruit and nuts in your muffins makes them not only satisfying, but rich in nutrients, too.
19. Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
Healthy cupcakes? Definitely.
Use a combination of almond flour, coconut flour and eggs to create the base for these healthy Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes. With strawberry as the main ingredient, they’re a great addition to any picnic and provide vitamin C, fiber and other nutrients, too.
20. Homemade Strawberry Lemonade
You need a refreshing beverage when picnicking, so give this Homemade Strawberry Lemonade a try. It’s naturally sweetened with strawberries, lemon juice and stevia.
21. Pineapple Smoothie
How about a smoothie to go? This Refreshing Pineapple Smoothie is made with nutritious coconut milk and coconut water, making for a great source of healthy fats. It’s also made with cilantro, which serves as a natural detoxifier.
Other Healthy Picnic Recipes
Any combination of healthy ingredients makes for excellent picnic food. Think about bringing fruits, vegetables and whole grains together in salads and sandwiches, and use plant-based bases for baked goods, like almond or coconut flour.
If you’re looking for more healthy picnic food ideas, check out these recipes:
- Homemade Granola Bars
- Baked Apple Rings
- Salty Lime Roasted Nuts
- Broccoli Salad
- Zesty Turkey Salad with Beans and Walnuts
- Mango Walnut Spinach Salad
- Berry Goat Cheese Salad
- Picnics can be refreshing and nourishing, especially when you bring the right picnic foods. There are so many healthy picnic food ideas to choose from, making your day outdoors a total day of wellness.
- When packing your next picnic, opt for fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and sandwiches that are made with healthy ingredients, like avocado, lean protein and sliced veggies.