Fun, Delicious Tips for a Healthy Summer Picnic 

This is prime time for soaking up every last bit of fun by enjoying as many outdoor meals as possible outside. In Michigan, our picnic prep is on point. We know how to turn hearty meals or even just snacks and drinks into an al fresco experience by spreading a blanket on the beach or scoping out the best table or bench at our favorite parks. But as you are packing up all your supplies and ingredients, make sure you have what you need for a delicious, healthy summer picnic. 

The art of picnicking is all about fun and convenience. While it’s easy to grab a bag of burgers and a tray of to-go drinks from the nearest drive-thru restaurant, it doesn’t take too much more effort to plan an outdoor meal that is good for you, too. Picnics are also a place where yummy leftovers are always welcome and can be turned into new handheld meals. Here are some tips to get you started:

Go for a healthy fizz. Cans of too-sweet soda or juices can ruin a picnic’s healthy vibe before it really starts. Instead, tap into all the fun of the carbonated water craze. Pack several different kinds of these big-flavor, no-calorie waters and let guests pick their favorites. Have kids in your group? Make it extra special by bringing cups and pouring the bubbling water over a handful of berries that you put at the bottom.  

Bring on the fresh fruit. Containers of freshly-cut fruits are the perfect side dish – and dessert – for any summer picnic. Chunks of watermelon, slices of mango, containers of berries and clusters of grapes are all great warm-weather stars of any outside feast. Want to make it eyecatching? Mix them together and serve as a fresh fruit salad. Or thread the fresh fruits onto skewers for colorful and sweet kabobs. 

Bite-sized fresh veggies. Skip the messy and time-consuming ears of grilled corn and instead pack a platter or containers of small veggies that are perfect for snacking. Think baby carrots or thick slices of cucumber. Serve them alongside colorful radishes that look like little jewels, or a dish of freshly-washed baby peppers. Picnics are the perfect time to nosh on raw green beans or peas still in the pod. 

Salad in a snap. If you’re not a fan of grilling hamburgers or hot dogs, skip the beef and pork and make a big dish of mixed greens the star of your outdoor meal. You can slice some leftover grilled chicken or flake in some leftover salmon, and sprinkle on some feta cheese crumbles. Bring along your favorite salad dressing or a vinaigrette and toss it together just before everyone grabs a plate.  

Remember to play. Moving meals outdoors and making time for picnics also means finding the fun in outdoor activities. Before you head out the door, make sure to pack what you’ll need for a pre- or post-meal activity. This might be a frisbee, a soccer ball, badminton rackets and a birdie, or a beanbag toss game. For little guests, tuck some big sidewalk chalk and bottles of bubbles into your picnic bags. Didn’t bring any toys? No worries. An after-meal stroll is a great way to finish a picnic. 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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