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Food & Nutrition
4 Tips for a Healthy Picnic
Lindsey Toth, MS, RD • January 1, 2021

What better way to celebrate the return of sunny days than with a picnic? It’s a simple way to turn an ordinary day into something special, and a picnic is an ideal excuse to satisfy your craving for the great outdoors while spending time with friends, family or a good book.

You don’t even need to wait for a day off! Pack a picnic and take your lunch break in the shade to get some fresh air. And while you’re packing, here are some picnic basket essentials to take along to help with your wellness goals.

Infused Water

Grab your reusable water bottle or pitcher, pop in a few fresh ingredients, top it off with filtered water, and you have a hydrating, refreshing, picnic-perfect drink. Infused water is so much healthier than sodas and sugary commercial beverages. It’s also a lot easier on your wallet and the environment than buying flavored water in cans. And you get to pick what goes in it, so you will always know you’re only getting fresh, natural ingredients.

What you’ll need:

Water bottles or pitcher

Fruits and herbs

Filtered water

Infused water makes trying new flavor combinations fun and easy. Cherry and lime, watermelon and basil, orange and ginger—you’ll never run out of new options to try. Find more ideas in Infused Water Benefits and Water for the Win: Benefits of Water, Plus 5 Water Infusions to Try.

Simple, Real Picnic Foods

Not sure which foods to pack for your picnic? Fill your picnic basket with these real food options for optimal nutrition and energy wherever you plan your picnic.

Veggies and Fruits

Veggies and fruits store and transport easily in mason jars for a picnic. You can even layer salad ingredients in mason jars to eat straight from the jar with a fork. And step up the flavor with a zesty, home-made apple cider vinegar salad dressing (recipe below).

Brightly-colored produce is rich in carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which are powerful antioxidants that help protect your eyes from blue light. Learn more about carotenoids and why you need them in What are Carotenoids?

Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey Vinaigrette

¾ cup olive oil

¼ cup organic apple cider vinegar with mother

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons organic raw wildflower honey

1 ½teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Combine apple cider vinegar, water, honey, salt and pepper in a blender, then drizzle olive oil into the blender until combined.1

Healthy Proteins

Pack in some protein-rich options for your picnic to keep your energy up and give you a healthy dose of omega fatty acids. Sealed pouches of tuna and salmon are picnic-friendly proteins that make for easy additions to salads or wraps. Boiled eggs are great too, and nuts and seeds are excellent vegan options that provide protein-packed picnic lunch or snack options.

Also, check out Pack Your Pantry: How to Make a Real Food Pantry for ideas that will have you ready to whip up healthy picnic recipes any time.