Packing a Healthy Picnic

Packing a Healthy Picnic

It’s picnic season! It can be easy to opt for packaged processed food, but most are loaded with Scary Seven ingredients. With a little planning and preparation, picnics can be a lot of fun AND healthy! I like to have prepared snacks like roasted Cajun nuts, homemade whole grain muffins, cookies and baked beans in the freezer, and leftover cold unprocessed meats like chicken and beef in the fridge. If time permits, try to make a whole grain or bean salad the day ahead. Keep the pantry stocked with whole grain crackers, cans of wild salmon, naturally sweetened spritzers and healthy nacho chips (that contain no hydrogenated fats or GMOs) and salsa. When the opportunity arises for a last minute picnic, just assemble an assortment of the above items and head out the door. Be sure to include lots of fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates and good quality protein.

Here’s a list of some great on-the-go food ideas:

Protein Sources:

  • yogurt
  • deviled eggs
  • plain hard boiled eggs
  • egg salad
  • made-ahead smoothies using either yogurt or protein supplement
  • canned salmon
  • canned sardines
  • salmon salad
  • cold unprocessed chicken
  • cold unprocessed beef
  • cheese: vegan or dairy cheese if diet allows 
  • vacuum flask of hot chili

Read more about protein and the healthy diet

Complex Carbohydrates:

  • whole grain crackers, buns or bread
  • whole grain tortillas 
  • organic nacho chips
  • raw nuts and seeds
  • home baked nuts and seeds
  • popcorn, made ahead
  • baked beans
  • whole grain muffins
  • whole grain salads
  • legume (bean) salads
  • bean chili
  • homemade granola

Fruits and Veggies:

  • various veggies washed and cut up to serve with dip
  • carrot salad
  • raw beet and veggie salad
  • broccoli and cauliflower salad
  • any raw vegetable salad
  • potato salad
  • fruit salads
  • watermelon or other melons
  • any fresh fruit in season; berries are best


Any of the above are wonderful options for snacks but for something special, pack a cooler with lots of ice throw in a tub of rice milk ice cream for a healthy treat.

Read more about making family meals healthy and fun

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Keep a container stocked and ready to go with reusable utensils, plates and bowls, napkins, a can opener, table cloth and salt and pepper; it takes just minutes to pack up and you’ll be sure to have everything you need with you. Another tip is to have on hand a couple of stainless steel vacuum flasks for hot foods. Don't forget a good quality sunscreen, and bring a frisbee or ball for some playful exercise.

Image: barbara nowak.

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Paulette Millis is dedicated to helping people through good nutrition. As a speaker, trainer and writer, she has 20 years of experience helping people through life issues and healing challenges. SCN airs fifteen three minute nutrition information segments with Paulette, called Cooking for Health. She is the author of 3 books, Cook Your Way to Health, Eat Away Illness and What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You About Foods, as well as numerous articles and columns. She has a special interest in digestive disorders, diabetes, women’s health, weight loss, hypothyroidism, and hormonal imbalances. Her passion for healing is personal and professional, brought about by her own healing journey. Using natural foods, environmental and lifestyle changes, detoxification and emotional healing, she has rebuilt her immune system and her life. Paulette is an active speaker for organizations on various health-related topics and also see clients regularly for nutritional consulting, nutritional assessments, and/or personal counseling. Paulette is a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner (RNCP), a Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner (ROHP), and is a member of the International Organization of Nutritional Consultants (IONC). She is a Registered Social Worker and is Reality Therapy Certified, and has worked for many years as a Certified Family Life Educator. When it comes to nutrition, Paulette believes in the old saying “Everything in moderation”. For more information about Paulette, visit her website at